Friday, October 24, 2014

24/10/2014: Behavioural Political Economy

A very interesting survey paper on the topic of behavioural drivers of political economy by Schnellenbach, Jan and Schubert, Christian, titled "Behavioral Political Economy: A Survey" (September 30, 2014. CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4988.

From the abstract:

"Explaining individual behavior in politics should rely on the same motivational assumptions as explaining behavior in the market: That’s what Political Economy, understood as the application of economics to the study of political processes, is all about." So far - fine.

However, there is a problem: "In its standard variant, those who played the game of politics should also be considered rational and self-interested, unlike the benevolent despot of earlier models. History repeats itself with the rise of behavioral economics: Assuming cognitive biases to be present in the market, but not in politics, behavioral economists often call for government to intervene in a “benevolent” way. Recently, however, political economists have started to apply behavioral economics insights to the study of political processes, thereby re-establishing a unified methodology. This paper surveys the current state of the emerging field of “Behavioral Political Economy” and considers the scope for further research."

It is a lengthy and solid review, covering some 41 pages. Dense. But absolutely a great read as an introduction into the subject. 

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