… is from page 341 of my great emeritus colleague Gordon Tullock’s 1987 essay “Concluding Thoughts on the Politics of Regulation,” which is the final chapter of the insight-rich 1987 collection Public Choice & Regulation: A View from Inside the Federal Trade Commission (Robert J. Mackay, James C. Miller III, and Bruce Yandle, eds.):
The attitude of those who turn to regulatory boards because there is a defect in the market and expect them to work perfectly is more likely to lead to boards that behave imperfectly than if they were set up by more cynical people.
Healthy skepticism – or realism – about the nature of politics is foreign to many advocates of government intervention. These advocates believe in miracles – and, in addition, they too often reason inconsistently about the play of incentives and the incompleteness of information across different institutional settings.