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Market Failure 7: Government Failure (There’s Always a Catch)

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Federalist No. 51

The Nirvana Fallacy is a term coined by Harold Demsetz, an institutional economist. He made the observation that arguments over different institutional arrangements often compare a messy real-world institution with the arguer’s idealized alternative. The imperfections of the real world are much easier to see than the inevitable flaws that even the best-conceived idea will have once it is implemented.

Up to this point, I have spent most of this series discussing the limitations of markets – to describe how markets are powerful yet flawed tools, rather than magic pixie dust that can be sprinkled on any problem. This post is about describing government’s practical limits in much the same way. The reality of policy analysis is that you will always be choosing between imperfect options, and you can’t do that intelligently without understanding what the imperfections of each option are.

One important thing to note before I dive in is that every government is different. All states will have a least a little of each of the high-level flaws I’m going to outline, but each government is better at some things and worse at others. A good understanding of your government’s strengths and weaknesses is important when deciding what your government should and shouldn’t do.

One of the important government failures is the tendency of politically-advantaged constituencies to seek policies that advantage themselves even though they are allocatively inefficient (they benefit the constituency less than they cost everyone else). This may manifest as failing to correct a market failure, distorting a market in the absence of a market failure, or responding to  market failure in a way that benefits them over solving the actual market failure..

A lot of ink has been spilled on how this works in practice, going back to Adam Smith at least. The standard approach in policy economics these days is Public Choice Theory. The central insight of Public Choice Theory is that it treats the business of controlling government like a Collective Action Problem. A small, homogeneous group will have less trouble coordinating itself than a large and diverse group. This creates the opportunity for an interest group to wield disproportionate influence over an aspect of government that they have a stronger-than-average stake in. Since the group with the strongest interest in how a regulator behaves is the industry being regulated, this can lead to regulatory capture – the process by which government agencies can come to serve the interests of the group they are supposed to oversee. Regulatory capture can lead to solutions that appear to have a role in controlling for a market failure, but primarily have the effect of enriching the incumbents in that industry.

For example, consider taxi regulation. In many cities, taxi numbers are limited by a licensing system. A fixed number of taxi licenses are issued, barring unlicensed drivers from entering the market. The stated justifications for this are that either:

  1. The market overproduces taxi services, imposing negative externalities on other road users; or
  2. That it is important to impose quality control on taxi services since it’s hard for passengers to evaluate the quality of taxi drivers ex ante.

The first reason takes us back to Part Two of this series. Assuming we can indeed identify negative externalities from taxi services, let’s consider how best to go about dealing with them. The most straightforward approach is to tax the negative externality directly. So have a license system, but don’t limit the number of licenses – to work as a taxi driver you pay the government for a license (the price of which is set to equal the estimated externality) but anyone who pays the fee can get a license. This increases the cost of running a taxi by the amount of the negative externality, leading to a reduction in taxi services.

The second reason is more of an information asymmetry argument, as we discussed in Part Five. Here the government could use a voluntary registration system, which would come with a quality mark that only taxi drivers who passed certain tests could legally display. If there was a concern that voluntary registration wouldn’t be enough to properly inform consumers (perhaps it would be too hard to let tourists know about it), then it might make sense to drive all the lemons out of the market entirely by making the registration compulsory – create a taxi license that has a nominal administrative cost and a proficiency test. Failure to live up to a performance standard could be punished by suspension of the licence,

These two approaches could be combined – have a taxi license that combines a proficiency test to ensure quality and a pigouvian tax to internalize externalities of the taxi industry. But note that neither approach includes an explicit cap on taxi numbers. The reason for this can be found in Part Three on imperfect competition. A fixed number of taxi licenses acts as a barrier to entry, thereby allowing incumbent taxi drivers to raise their prices and even cut back on services since they have no need to fear competition. This is the danger of badly-designed policy interventions, even when there is a solid justification for intervening. Rather than fixing the taxi market, all that has happened is that the government has broken it further, while enriching a private business interest at the expense of the public.

Furthermore, once made this kind of mistake can be difficult to correct. The medallion system creates a relatively homogeneous constituency, medallion owners, who now have strong incentives to oppose any reform. Worse – the more the system restricts supply, the more the medallion is worth and the harder that constituency will fight to retain their privilege. Often the least efficient interventions are the hardest to reform.

Naturally a constituency won’t do so by saying “we deserve to make supernormal profits at the expense of our customers; the discipline of the market is unpalatable and we want nothing to do with it.” Instead they’ll typically argue for the benefits of regulation in general, as if there were no alternative to the status quo other than total deregulation. This is why it it so important to look at the mechanism of a policy proposal, and to compare that mechanism to the specific proposal it is trying to solve. If all you do is think in terms of more or less government involvement, you may end up becoming the unwitting accomplice of a group of rent-seekers (rent in this context meaning the return to an asset or activity that exceeds the economically-efficient return on that asset or activity).

In recent years, some efforts have been made to apply behavioural economics to government as well. One such attempt was Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter. He argued that behaving rationally is work (this squares well with Kahneman’s writings about System 1 and System 2 in the brain), and people are more likely to engage their rational faculties when the consequences to them are the greatest. However, since no one person has any real effect on the outcome of an election, it hardly makes sense to think carefully about the consequences of your vote. As such, voting behaviour is even less likely to be rational than market behaviour. Caplan’s model helps fill in a few gaps in standard Public Choice Theory, for example why interventions like agricultural tariffs are often electorally popular even though they benefit farmers at the expense of anyone who buys food. Public Choice Theory would explain why these tariffs happen, but not why they are popular.

Since the voting public has little knowledge of how to design a policy in response to a market failure (or even tell a good intervention from a bad one), political decision-makers have no incentive to think along those lines. And so they will gravitate to policies that do little to address the core problem. Naturally, rent-seeking groups will be more than happy to suggest solutions that benefit them.

Another problem is that most governments have real difficulty in changing their behaviour in response to new information. Tim Harford’s book Adapt argues that one reason markets are effective is that they have an inbuilt tendency to punish failure. If you keep screwing up, you will lose access to capital and your business will go bust or be bought out by people who can fix your mistakes. Governments, by contrast, don’t need to respond to failure the way businesses are forced to. In fact, the political incentives for government often run in the opposite direction. Voters value decisiveness and persistence, and people who are seen to admit mistakes or change their mind are dismissed as flip-floppers. This leads to governments not responding to new evidence, as that would appear to be a sign of weakness. Governments are often reluctant to even collect robust data on a programme’s performance, since such data could be used against them if it is unfavourable. Even the most skilled policy design will probably be wrong in at least some of its details, because the only way to find out certain things about your policy is to try it in the real world. Not being able to correct mistakes is a serious handicap for anyone trying to do something as difficult as designing competent government policy.

So, how do we grapple with these problems? The biggest thing to keep in mind here is simplicity. The voting public will have an easier time holding the government to account when the policy interventions involved are simple and easy to understand. Transparency is also important. This is one of the reasons why most economists support Carbon Taxes over Cap-and-Trade. Theoretically, both policies are just two different ways of doing the same thing, but in practice, it’s easier to install loopholes in Cap-and-Trade. Tax rates are relatively simple for the public to grasp, but if you give a few carbon permits to favoured industries, rather than auctioning them all, it becomes harder for the public to understand what is going on. Also, you will probably make fewer mistakes in implementing a simpler policy.

A better-informed and more empirically-minded voting public would help a lot, but that’s easier said than done. Which means that ultimately you have to limit your ambitions as to what government can achieve. There are plenty of market failures that are large and / or simply corrected. These should be the prime candidates for government intervention. Smaller or more complex failures may be too difficult to fix with the tools we can realistically implement in the real world. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be trying to make government better at dealing with problems, but government is an imperfect instrument and we live in an imperfect world.

That brings us to the end of the main part of this series. The next post will be a discussion of economic policy issues that fall outside the market failure model entirely.


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James is a government policy analyst, and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. His interests including wargaming, computer gaming (especially RPGs and strategy games), Dungeons & Dragons and scepticism. No part of any of his posts or comments should be construed as the position of any part of the New Zealand government, or indeed any agency he may be associated with.

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46 thoughts on “Market Failure 7: Government Failure (There’s Always a Catch)

  1. The medallion system creates a relatively homogeneous constituency, medallion owners, who now have strong incentives to oppose any reform. Worse – the more the system restricts supply, the more the medallion is worth and the harder that constituency will fight to retain their privilege.

    One particularly pernicious aspect of this system is that there’s a very real sense in which taxi drivers aren’t privileged. I imagine the system varies from city to city, but in many (most?) the medallions are tradeable, so the value of the oligopoly pricing is baked into the cost of the medallion. Which is to say, the government, as it so often does, has managed to create a system in which consumers are losers and producers are not actually any better off. The actual winners, I guess, would be either medallion owners who got in on the ground floor and have long since cashed out (if the government sold them cheap), or former taxpayers or tax beneficiaries if they were auctioned off.

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    • The scarcity premium is a hell of a thing.

      By removing artificially imposed scarcity, you dramatically allow an overall increase of (what term do we want to use… wealth? non-monetary wealth?) whatever-we-want-to-call-it at the cost of a small number of actors who personally benefit greatly from being a recipient of the dispensers of the artificially scarce resource.

      The folks who dispense the thing that is intrinsically worth something but kept scarce will always create a stink when those constraints are removed. And given that the folks who dispense the thing are individuals and given that the benefits from the removal of the artificial scarcity are distributed and, thus, a lot less easy to keep track of…

      Well, the scarcity premium is a hell of a thing.

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    • Limiting taxis always stuck me as odd, especially since considering the supposed justification for it was ‘Keep taxis from using all the space in the streets’. I.e., the theory is, with unlimited taxis, we’d get a lot more of them, to the point that other cars were pushed out.

      To which I have to say: Wait, what’s the problem again?

      The actual problem is that there appear to be too many people using a common resource, aka, the streets, and as they can’t build more streets, the solution to that would appear to be to limit *all* uses of that resource. I.e., make everyone who wants to drive around in New York City buy a medallion allowing that. (Instead of having to get police to check them constantly, make them RFID and put up sensors on bridges and tunnels.)

      Yes, we’d end up with more taxis and less private cars than currently, especially if it was purchased by auction, but isn’t that better anyway? If the choice is between things that can be used by multiple people, and things that can’t, let’s go with the things that can.

      I mean, I’m all for the government skewing incentives, but taxi medallions seem to skew the limited number of private cars NYC can handle *the wrong way*, toward private cars.

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        • Well, it’s not garbage, per-se.

          City centers have gotten increasingly crowded. London has a city car-toll for a reason, although that’s per day.

          Unlike most things the government wants to limit, NYC can’t restrict that via expensive tags (Too much commuting.) or expensive gas tax (Same reason.)

          It would be entirely reasonable for NYC to do something to limit the amount of cars in a city, and a ‘You must have one of these on your car to operate it in NYC’ thing isn’t a bad way to do that.

          In a way, it makes more sense than daily tolls, which would have to be via automated RFID anyway!

          In fact, with an automated system, there could be all sorts of different levels. ‘You can go in and out of the city as much as you want.’. ‘You can only go into the city during off-peak hours and five times a year during peak’, etc. And bill people for overages. Hey, that sort of thing works (mostly) for cell phones, how about using it for something that actually *can’t* add capacity, instead of using it for lazy-ass cell phone companies that just don’t want to?

          What *is* garbage is only doing medallions for taxis. What is *also* garbage is doing it as some sort of permanent thing instead of just having people re-buy them every year. (I’m not entirely sure there’s ever a good reason for the government to sell *transferable* licenses.)

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          • You’re right that it’s not garbage per se.

            It’s like you’re telling us that protection money is actually a good thing when it’s described as “taxes going to fund police and fire departments”.

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  2. Gov’t not only has no incentive to respond to failures, they have every incentive to take advantage of it. That’s how bureaucrats build power and increase their budgets. Since the gov’t has no incentive to manage costs, and their incentives are reversed from “normal”, they spend all their budgets whether they need to or not so as to prevent next year’s budget from being cut. If there is a failure, the solution is to add more staff and money to “form a task force” and find out why and then add more staff and budget to manage the problem with new regulations. Transparency to the customer (the taxpayer) is nothing they want. Data? that might indicate those bureaucrats aren’t needed. Can’t have that.

    “Which means that ultimately you have to limit your ambitions as to what government can achieve” Really? EVERYONE seems to want something from gov’t. I’ve rarely seen a gov’t employee or ‘crat say they couldn’t do what was wanted. Just takes more money and staff. We learned long ago, we can dip our hand into other people’s pockets and take their money.

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  3. I would say that idealized alternative cuts both ways. A lot of libertarian discussion including Bryan Caplan strikes me as being very utopian.

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  4. Also implicitly baked into this excellent post is an explanation for why liberal democracies are superior governing methods to their alternatives; technocratic, theological or strong man autocracies. If voters are bad at understanding issues and transmitting their preferences to policy makers non-democratic systems are exponentially worse. Even your most golden hearted autocrat will have to contend with a natural circle of advisors, ministers and friends who are generally incapable of telling said autocrat what the genuine issues and desires of his or her citizenry are. Democracies may be myopic but the alternatives are flat out blind.

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    • Any king, president, pope, or parliament can hold court with commoners about the issues of a nation, and from this I don’t agree with the blindness of one over the other.

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    • It does point to advantage of liberal democracies, and the reason why that form of government seems to outperform the available alternatives, but it can show off some of the weaknesses too. When voters misdiagnose the causes of a policy problem they can demand solutions that are unhelpful or even counter-productive. Admittedly this can be a problem for less democratic governance systems as well.

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  5. “If all you do is think in terms of more or less government involvement, you may end up becoming the unwitting accomplice of a group of rent-seekers”

    Is there a study that defines a amount of rent seeking in areas that have no government, versus an area that is in the late/developed stages of capitalism(2)?

    (2) an economic system that features a symbiotic relationship between big business and government.

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    • I don’t think there are enough areas with no government to adequately study that question, especially considering that regions with no government tend to be different from nation states in many different ways.

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      • So there is a possibility that minimal/no government may be a option to reduce rent seeking, but there is just not enough information to prove so?

        This stated with all the hand waving caveat of ‘it’s complicated’ thrown into the mix. Even so, the maximal government crowd may be producing a problem without knowing it.

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        • In areas without government, I’d expect less ‘traditional’ rent-seeking, and more outright extortion.

          When there is government, a rent-seeker has to, for example, purchase a farm and then get someone to live there, and say to them ‘Pay me each month or the government will evict you.’.

          When there isn’t government, a guy can just hire some guys with guns and go to someone else’s farm and say ‘Pay me each month or I will burn your crops and eventually kill you.’. People don’t need to rent-seek when they can just *demand* money without any legal justification.

          And I don’t know what is meant by ‘minimal government’ there…normally, people who say that include ‘enforcing property rights’ in that, which means rent-seeking should logically be just as possible as with a larger government. Except minus the counterweight of a government that often tries to reduce rent-seeking. So, logically, rent-seeking should be slightly higher.

          But if this ‘minimal government’ didn’t recognize or issue various forms of property, for example it didn’t have patents or (We were just talking about this somewhere) taxi medallions, obviously rent-seeking wouldn’t happen for those things anymore. So removing ‘artificial’ forms of property from existence would reduce rent-seeking, especially since almost all artificial property is deliberately scarce (In fact, the entire reason we started treating non-physical items *as* property was to make them scarce) so is very easy to use for rent-seeking.

          Sadly, a lot of people who talk about wanting ‘minimal government’, especially most extreme libertarians, seem to be fully in favor of intellectual property, despite the many problems there are with our current system, and despite the fact the entire concept can’t fit under ‘You can do anything you want as long as you don’t harm me’. (I blame Ayn Rand for this.)

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          • Intellectual property is no more fanciful than any other sort of property.

            “I have to ask for permission to do stuff” is not inherently a problem.

            “the entire concept can’t fit under ‘You can do anything you want as long as you don’t harm me’. ”

            Of course there’s harm. You’re deriving benefit from use of my property, without my permission and without compensating me for it. It is exactly as harmful as if you took a shortcut across my yard to get from your house to a restaurant instead of walking around the block.

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            • Intellectual property is no more fanciful than any other sort of property.

              Yes it is.

              All property is fanciful, and intellectual property shares the same fancy as any other property. All property rights are imaginary constructs by the government.

              But intellectual property has more ‘fancy’, on *top* of that.

              Of course there’s harm. You’re deriving benefit from use of my property, without my permission and without compensating me for it.

              Someone benefiting from your stuff without your permission is not what the word ‘harm’ means. Harms means someone has *reduced* your ability to use your stuff.

              Also, that is absurdly circular logic, and the phrase ‘my property’ is doing a lot of work there. There is physical property, and there is intellectual property.

              Copyright infringement is normally done via physical property the *infringer* owns. It stopped being your physical property when you sold me the CD.

              Meanwhile, I merely own a copy of your intellectual property, not your actual intellectual property, so can’t actually harm that, either. (1)

              It is exactly as harmful as if you took a shortcut across my yard to get from your house to a restaurant instead of walking around the block.

              Erm, wait, your example is sorta dumb.

              It is actually *entirely legal* to use someone else’s property without compensating them for it, in general, as long as I don’t damage their stuff or cost them something.

              If someone leaves their sunglasses sitting at my desk, I can put them on, legally. I can’t *walk off* with them, and I can’t refuse to hand them back, either of those are theft, but I can *use* them. That is not a crime.

              If I’m walking through a parking lot, I can legally sit on the bumper of some truck and tie my shoes, and even if the owner sees that and calls the cops, I have literally committed no crime, assuming I have not somehow damaged his truck.

              It is even entirely legal for me to *take a copyrighted CD that someone owns physically, and someone else owns the copyright on*, and play it without permission if they left it in a publicly accessible CD player or something. (Barring a situation where that’s legally a ‘public performance’.)

              There are a few *specific* things where this is not always true, like real estate, but usually *only* if the owner of thing has indicated they don’t wish people to be able to use it. (In the case of real estate, via fences and walls and no trespassing signs.)

              But even *there*, while trespassing might be a *crime*, it’s not because someone ‘derived benefit’ from the owner’s property. It’s because trespassing *deprives the owner* of aspects of their property, namely, privacy and security.

              That is, basically, the principle of property rights. Ownership of a thing == the ability to stop people from reducing your *use* of that thing.

              Whereas copyright is the ability to stop people from, basically, stopping people from reducing your ability to sell copies of that thing by making exact duplicates of stuff they own. It’s a whole nother level of imaginary rights.

              1) Incidentally, I refuse to discuss copyright with anyone who thinks we merely ‘license’ all copyright stuff. That is not how the law works with copyright normally, and there’s a few reasons it isn’t true *even when* the stuff claims to be licensed and not sold, especially when they try to spring it on you after the sale. And I’ve gotten in so many dumbass discussions to correct that misconception that I have given up, and if you have that misconception, we’ll just sorta stop here. Again, no idea if you think that or not, I’m just warning…I’m done spending time and effort explaining that over and over.

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              • “Someone benefiting from your stuff without your permission is not what the word ‘harm’ means. Harms means someone has *reduced* your ability to use your stuff.”

                Funny how you trash me for using a definition of “my property”, and then you use a very self-serving definition of “harm”, that turns out to–very conveniently!–exclude the harm that is suffered through uncompensated use of property.

                “It is actually *entirely legal* to use someone else’s property without compensating them for it, in general, as long as I don’t damage their stuff or cost them something.”

                uuuuuhhhhhh no it ain’t hoss. You might be thinking of criminal trespass, which requires specific intent to damage property or interfere with activity or a refusal to leave the property when challenged, but it’s still actionable to walk across someone’s yard.

                And sure, it’s a tortuous action and not a criminal one, and the cops won’t arrest someone just for being on your lawn (you have to file a lawsuit if you don’t want to challenge them directly for some reason) but at the end of the day it isn’t legal to infringe on someone else’s property.

                “It is even entirely legal for me to *take a copyrighted CD that someone owns physically, and someone else owns the copyright on*, and play it without permission if they left it in a publicly accessible CD player or something.”

                Sure! Because during the time period in which you have that CD, the nominal owner cannot also play it. The physical token that represents the bundle of reproduction rights has been transferred to you.

                “All property is fanciful, and intellectual property shares the same fancy as any other property. All property rights are imaginary constructs by the government.”

                So you say “all property is fiction!” and then you say “but intellectual property has no physicality and therefore can’t expect any protection!”

                Please to be having consistency of the argument, sir. Either property is fiction (in which case we can make up any rules we want, even extending property rights to nonphysical concepts) or property is physical (in which case it’s not valid to say “property is fiction”).

                PS you’re trying very hard to justify that time you took out a camera and started photographing that dude’s paintings at the farmer’s market.

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            • Oh, I’m not opposed to all IP.(1)

              I just find it very odd how often extreme libertarians are okay with the government telling people what they can and cannot do with their own property, simply because the government invented ‘intellectual property’ inside that thing.

              They can perhaps justify copyright as the copyright holder is, hypothetically, selling some rights and not others (Although this is not actually how copyright works.) and trademarks could perhaps be justified as anti-fraud.

              But I just remain completely baffled as to how extreme ‘The only justified action of the government is to protect people’ libertarians are okay with *patents*, which do *not* require any sort of purchase from the patent holder where the purchaser could have (hypothetically) agreed not to copy it, nor do they require misleading anyone. It’s just flat out the government telling them they can’t do something with their own property.

              1) Here are the two main forms of IP I have serious issues with. a) Repeatedly extending copyright to no benefit…does anyone seriously think how much money ‘Star Wars VII’ is going to make in 2100 was an important consideration to Disney making that movie? (And let’s not get started on how that’s supposed to work retroactively.), and b) Software patents, which never were legal anyway, and I am very glad to see the high courts have *finally* noticed what has been going on.

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        • There are intermediate options between “no government” and “all of the government”, also its probably not helpful to think of there as being a straightforward link between government activity and rent-seeking. For another, its really not useful to think of government activity as all being the same here. Some things governments do will encourage rent-seeking, others may reduce it.

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          • Well, part of my original position was considering if there is a link. I might find it helpful if it indicated better efficiency in turning the dial closer to 11 or 0 to make the system more efficient when the sum of parameters are weighed.

            If it is an unknown we continue to build systems and create policy in the midst of it.

            I do greatly appreciate your input on the matter.

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            • Probably better to think of it less as a dial than as a menu – some items promote rent seeking wile others discourage it. For example – stopping brigands from extorting resources from people is anti-rent-seeking, while systems that grant a lot of discretion to figures in government are likely to promote rent-seeking (all the way up to full-blown corruption in some cases).

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              • Well, I guess we get to a finer point, is government the most efficient tool to lend discretion (on the menu)?

                Also to the brigand, is it the government that stops them, or the officers pay that stops them?

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  6. It’s worth pointing out that even taxi drivers prefer Uber and Lyft. If anything, they’d *rather* use those services because they take home more money! Most of the fares they charge go on to the medallion holder.

    “Caplan’s model helps fill in a few gaps in standard Public Choice Theory, for example why interventions like agricultural tariffs are often electorally popular even though they benefit farmers at the expense of anyone who buys food.”

    Even *this* is a rational, utility-maximizing choice, if you take into account the low-information, limited time-window nature of most voters.

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  7. “However, since no one person has any real effect on the outcome of an election, it hardly makes sense to think carefully about the consequences of your vote. As such, voting behaviour is even less likely to be rational than market behaviour. ”

    There is a wrinkle to this, though, which I’ve always thought was a problem with the way folks have described Caplan to me (full disclosure: I haven’t read Bryan Caplan’s Myth of the Rational Voter, so I have no idea if he addresses this or not).

    You can’t assume that voters are a monolithic block in terms of how they decide to vote. In fact, I think it’s pretty well established that there are different types of voters in terms of their assessment behaviours.

    A lot of times the apparent irrationality of a voter block is a problem because the observer talks about the expression of the voter block as being indicative of the population block (see: What’s the Matter with Kansas).

    But based solely on turnout numbers, that’s clearly a completely insane assumption. Elections aren’t entirely predictable by any means… but if you rely much more on patterns of behavior than surmises about motivations you get a lot closer to being able to predict electoral outcomes.

    I mean, anybody who was paying attention to the history of electoral patterns knew that the GOP was going to take up a bunch of seats in 2010, simply due to the patterns of *who* votes *when*.

    So a GOP Congressperson getting voted in during the 2010 election is probably far less of a case of “were the constituents in this Congressperson’s district acting rationally” and much much more a case of “were the **actual voters** in this Congressperson’s district acting rationally”. Similarly, “ZOMG why is this Congressperson ignoring the Will of the People” becomes a lot less interesting of a question when you look at who actually voted in the Congressperson in the first place.

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