Delivered twice a week, straight to your inbox. This does not mean that voters make poor and biased decisions: But while people are not expected to understand sophisticated arguments from physics or biology to navigate the natural world, politics — especially democracy — demands that people make informed decisions in the social world.
Criticisms[ edit ] Much of the empirical support for the idea of rational ignorance was drawn from studies of voter apathywhich reached particularly strong conclusions in the s.
For instance, George W. The numbers are so large that it matters little to the outcome whether any given individual casts their ballot. A classic example of this would be in general elections, where one vote really does not count much.
Politics is no exception. For instance, ideologies simplify the world and help people make sense of complex politics.
People learn from those around them, and emulate behaviors which seem to work well or meet social approval. A study performed in Sept. Complex political systems lead people to rely on oversimplified worldviews based on ideology.
Additionally, rational ignorance is scrutinized for its broadening effect on the decisions that individuals make in different matters. Advancing our knowledge — whether scientific, practical, or social — is the great challenge we face. Banks have to resolve the legally watertight vs.
By increasing the number of issues that a person needs to consider to make a rational decision about candidates or policies, politicians and pundits encourage single-issue voting, party-line voting, jingoismselling votes, or dart-throwing all of which may tip the playing field in favor of politicians who do not actually represent the electorate.
This argument suggests that we should see high levels of anger and emotional attacks on opponents from rival ideologies, as we do. If the difference in value between a quality product and a poor product is less than the cost to perform the research necessary to differentiate between them, then it is more rational for a consumer to just take his chances on whichever of the two is more convenient and available.
But a good idea is a good idea, and entrepreneurs are well-situated to overcome these problems plaguing politics. The investment of time and energy on learning about the specified subject has ramifications on other decision areas.
It is well documented in the marketing literature that people take advantage of rational ignorance by increasing the complexity of a decision. Need to brush up on the basics? Clearly, the amount known varies very substantially between investors, due to huge disparities in experience, education, the amount of time people are able and willing to devote to their money, and so on.
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This resulted in "legalese" formulations designed to be legally watertight, but which severely reduced the readability and comprehensibility. This does not mean that Public Choice does not offer anything to those trying to understand political life, but it does mean that other areas must also be considered.
While Public Choice uses traditional economics to model voters, Senators, bureaucrats and everyone in-between as self-interested and extremely rational! Since their vote matters little in the overall political outcome, people cast votes to satisfy various emotions.
Behavioral Finance The Two Faces of Investor Ignorance In the world of money, with its countless traps, endless alternatives, conflicts of interest and shady dealers, ignorance is probably less rational than in any other context.The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, required bureaucrats to write thousands of pages of new rules; the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill did the same.
But political ignorance is actually rational for most of the public, including most smart people. If your only reason to follow politics is to be a better voter, that turns out not be much of a reason at all. Rational ignorance is refraining from acquiring knowledge when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide.
Politics and elections especially display the same dynamic. Or if they do, it is with a sigh., before going back to worrying about the kids, the parents, the mortgage, the boss, their friends, their weight, their health, sex and rock ‘n’ roll.
That ignorance is not a moral failing. The rational voter has little incentive to gain more knowledge about politics because his or her vote is unlikely to affect the outcome.
The same weaknesses that undermine Friedman’s critique of rational ignorance theory also undercut his critique of “rational irrationality” – the idea that people might rationally do a poor job of evaluating the political information they learn.Download