The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies

By Bryan Caplan
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"The Myth of the Rational Voter" by Bryan Caplan challenges the commonly held belief that voters make rational choices based on their own self-interests. Caplan argues that in reality, voters are often biased, uninformed, and their policy preferences are driven by emotional responses rather than thoughtful analysis.

Through extensive research and analysis, Caplan demonstrates that voters consistently exhibit four systematic biases: anti-market bias, anti-foreign bias, make-work bias, and pessimistic bias. These biases lead voters to support policies that are economically harmful, such as protectionism and excessive government intervention, which ultimately hinder overall societal well-being.

Caplan further explores the reasons behind these biases, including the impact of education, the role of media, and the inherent flaws in democracy itself. He presents compelling evidence that challenges the notion that democracy is the best system for decision-making, and proposes the concept of "epistocracy" as an alternative, where political decisions are made by a more knowledgeable and better-informed electorate.

"The Myth of the Rational Voter" urges readers to reevaluate their assumptions about democracy and consider the consequences of relying on uninformed and biased voter preferences. Caplan's thought-provoking analysis offers a fresh perspective on the limitations of democracy and calls for a more rational approach to public policy decision-making.
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