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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 132 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague James Buchanan’s 1991 paper (co-authored with Viktor Vanberg) “Constitutional Choice, Rational Ignorance and the Limits of Reason,” as this paper is reprinted in Choice, Contract, and Constitutions (2001), which is volume 16 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan (footnote deleted):

One of the most familiar principles in Public Choice is the rational ignorance hypothesis, which states that in large electoral constituencies it is privately rational for a single voter to remain ignorant about the alternatives of collective choice because of the negligible influence of his or her own vote on the outcome.

DBx: It is a ceaseless source of mystery to me why so many mainstream economists bend over backwards to find alleged instances of market failure – often when no such failure really exists – but remain completely oblivious to sources of very real political failure, such as the one described above by Vanberg and Buchanan.