Research Paper

The Demographic Objection to Epistocracy

The demographic objection to epistocracy holds that because advantaged demographic groups (male, rich, white) tend to be better informed about politics than disadvantaged groups (female, poor, black), that epistocracy would end up unjustly giving power to advantaged groups at the expense of disadvantaged groups. This paper considers and rebuts two major versions of the demographic objection. 


Water Externalities: Tragedy of the Common Canal

Laboratory experiments are used to investigate alternative solutions to the allocation problem of a common-pool resource with unidirectional flow. Focus is on the comparative economic efficiency of nonbinding communications, bilateral "Coasian" bargaining, allocation by auction, and allocation by exogenous usage fee. All solutions improve allocative efficiency, but communication and bilateral bargaining are not generally as effective as market allocations.


Propaganda about Propaganda

Jason Stanley’s How Propaganda Works intends to offer a novel account of what propaganda is, how it works, and what damage it does inside a democratic culture. The book succeeds in showing that, contrary to the stereotype, propaganda need not be false or misleading. However, Stanley offers contradictory definitions of propaganda, and his theory, which is both over- and under-inclusive, is applied in a dismissive, highly ideological way. In the end, it remains unclear how much damage propaganda does. Voters in modern democracies would be ignorant and irrational even without propaganda.