Prof. Bryan Caplan

Econ 854


HW #3 (please type; answers should be 2 pages, double-spaced)


Answer any THREE questions!


1.      Select a theoretical paper on some sort of "political failure."  Pretending you are Donald Wittman, critique the paper's thesis.  What are the objectionable assumptions that drive the results?


2.      Expressive voting and rational irrationality seem to predict that local governments will be more efficient than state governments, which will in turn will be more efficient than federal governments.  Are these predictions true?  Carefully explain your answer.  Is there any reason why we should expect this relative ranking to be empirically small?


3.      What standard stories of political failure are hardest for Caplan's rational irrationality model to explain?


4.      Find an issue from Althaus where you disagree with the “Enlightened” view.  Does this make you less confident in your position?  How would you try to persuade the “Enlightened” to see things your way?


5.      Pick your favorite behavioral political economy model discussed in class, and persuasively apply it to a novel situation.


6.      Pick a widely-discussed government “agency problem.”  Carefully argue that it is ultimately caused by principal negligence.