Economics 854 Final

Prof. Bryan Caplan

Spring, 2015




·         You have 120 minutes to complete this exam. 

·         Write all answers directly on the exam.

·         You may use any books, notes, or other materials that you wish, but avoid spending too much time on any one question. 

·         Partial credit may be awarded on all questions. 

·         The maximum possible number of points is 120.

·         You should have five pages, counting this one.


Part 1: True, False, and Explain

(10 points each - 2 for the right answer, and 8 for the explanation)

State whether each of the following six propositions is true or false.  In 2-3 sentences (and clearly-labeled diagrams, when helpful), explain why.


1.  “A great deal of our information about revolutionary overthrows comes from the memoirs of people who have participated in them, either on the winning or the losing side.  These people rarely explain their own participation or nonparticipation in terms of selfish motives.  Indeed, they very commonly ascribe selfish motives to rivals or to the other side, but always explain their own actions in terms of devotion to the public good.” (Tullock, “The Paradox of Revolution”)


T, F, and Explain:  Tullock is rebutting critics of the SIVH.











2.  T, F, and Explain:  Controlling for religious variables consistently depresses the estimated effect of ideology on party identification by over one-third.












3. T, F, and Explain:  Mosca believes that political actors are irrational, but never suggests that they are what Caplan calls “rationally irrational.”









4. Suppose voters consistently used Beckerian punishments to discipline politicians.

T, F, and Explain:  This would backfire because it would reduce the supply of competent politicians eager to implement the median voters’ preferences.

















Part 2: Short Essays

(20 points each)

In 6-8 sentences, answer all of the following questions.


1.  “If voters were really group-interested, group leaders would try harder to negotiate with rival groups instead of fighting with them.”  Flesh out this argument, then apply it to a real-world example of your choosing.




















2.  Name two major facts the sociopathic bandit model designed to explain?  Can the stationary bandit model provide plausible alternative explanations of these two facts?





















3. Out of the twenty five common objections to futarchy (Hanson, “Shall We Vote on Values But Bet on Beliefs?”), which is the best?  State the argument in its strongest form, then argue that Hanson’s response is unconvincing.






















4.  Suppose Canada adopted anarcho-capitalism.  Would the Canadian experiment be able to survive the international reaction?  Why or why not?