Art Carden  

Voter Biases, Explained with Video

The Difficulties with Lying... Uncertainty Can Go Both Ways...

People all across Alabama are voting today in a primary election. Many of them who claim to want more economic growth will vote enthusiastically for candidates espousing policies that will make us poorer. What gives?

Just in time, The Institute for Humane Studies (for whom I work as an adjunct program officer) has released another video featuring EconLog's own Bryan Caplan. Enjoy!

COMMENTS (5 to date)
ThomasH writes:

I’m been trying to use this framework to figure out what accounts for views on climate change policy. Why is it that so few of the public agree with most economists that a carbon tax is the best way to deal with climate change? One part is easy: Anti-Market bias; a few old time “environmentalists” just don’t like making pollution a transaction and think it needs to be regulated with command and control measures, presumably the better to punish the "evil" polluters and spare the virtuous. I have not heard this view expressed much recently, but is must be around. Anti Foreign bias seems to be involved because it’s often argued that the US can’t do anything because mean old India and China ex hypothesi, will not limit their CO2 emissions. Make Work bias is also in the mix because a carbon tax is supposedly a “jobs killer.” But I think the most important one is the Pessimism bias; people just cannot believe that a tax of several dollars per ton of CO2 emitted will reduce GDP only imperceptibly (or even increase it if the proceeds were applied to reducing other distorting taxes like the corporate income tax).

LD Bottorff writes:

Some of us realize how valuable economic growth has been thanks to burning hydrocarbons. People with pessimistic bias don't see that, of course.
Anti-Market bias is also at work in the belief that we can replace our entire energy infrastructure if we could just get rid of those nasty oil companies and their political influence.
In theory, a carbon tax makes sense. Trying to figure out just what level that tax will be is a lot harder.

MikeP writes:

Why is it that so few of the public agree with most economists that a carbon tax is the best way to deal with climate change?

Perhaps because they believe that there is no way that government will actually execute the best way to deal with climate change and make taxing carbon at its economically determined social cost the entirety of climate change policy.

Hence I prefer the second best way to deal with climate change: for the government to do nothing about it at all.

MikeP writes:

By the way, will the Government Actually Can Do The Things It Claims It Can Do bias be in the second edition of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies?

ThomasH writes:

@ MikeP: Well now we are in the area of pure politics where I claim no expertise (I thought no one would vote for Bush after Iraq). Nevertheless, it looks to me like the chances of the government doing nothing about climate change (EAP rules on CO2 emissions, "green" energy subsidies, % set a sides for renewable energy sources, etc.) are pretty low and so a carbon tax may be politically more feasible than doing nothing.

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