Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on October 2, 2013

in Other People's Money, Politics, Seen and Unseen

… is from pages 164-165 of Mark Pennington’s excellent 2011 book, Robust Political Economy:

Overall, government action seems likely to reduce the robustness of institutions and to exacerbate collective-good problems because removing the ‘exit’ option prevents individuals from judging how their personal contributions affect outcomes.  When taxpayers who fund failing programmes cannot exit with their own money, then the only form of accountability left is that of democratic voice.  Yet, given the minuscule chance of affecting the result of a large-number election it is rational for voters to remain ignorant about the relative effectiveness of specific programmes.  It is precisely this ignorance that may allow opportunistic behaviour to go unchecked.

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