Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Second Reply to Caplan: The Power and the Glory of the Median Voter

by

Abstract

IT IS ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO HAVE THE LAST WORD. I WILL NOT make a point-by-point counter-argument to Brian Caplan’s Rejoinder (2005b) because doing so would exhaust my patience, as well as the readers’ (but probably not Caplan’s). Instead, I will present some general arguments that can be employed in answering a variety of questions. In my response I will: explain why there is a demand for democratic failure theories; predict which voters will appear to act irrationally; explain why evidence of voter irrationality does not imply that government policy is irrational; show why Caplan’s argument that voters are rationally irrational when they vote does not conform with the facts; and suggest empirical tests that might be employed to gain greater insight into voter behavior.