Bryan Caplan  

Debate With Wittman Continues

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The latest issue of Econ Journal Watch features the second round of my debate with Donald Wittman. Here's me; here's Wittman.

COMMENTS (1 to date)
James writes:

I find two of Wittman's remarks to be rather interesting with regard to his empirical methodology. On p. 194 he writes,

"Why don’t we do a brain scan and see what differences there are, if any, between voting and buying (or solving crossword puzzles)? Caplan and I can fight about the interpretation later."
which seems entirely confused. If Wittman can't justify in advance some theory about what conclusions would be warranted from the possible brain activities that might be observed, why does he expect anyone to believe that such a test is even relevant to his hypothesis?

In a footnote at the end of the same page, he writes,

"Caplan’s concluding statement says that he and I are engaging in a debate about the relative merits of democracy versus economic markets. I do not agree. I have never argued that democratic markets are in general superior to economic markets. Instead, I have argued that democratic markets will tend to let decisions be made by economic markets when economic markets provide a superior outcome."
Ignore for the moment the evidence for or against this restatement of his position, and also his remark cited on p. 176 in Caplan's essay that “voter rationality and consumer rationality should be tested in the same way and compared.” If this is really Wittman's position, why do his proposed experiments, especially 4 and 5, seem to test the position Caplan attributes to him, that voters are at least as rational as consumers?

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