Lethal Incompetence: Voters, Officials, and Systems
Critical Review, Vol. 20, pp. 1-24, March 2008
23 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2012
Date Written: March 1, 2008
The study of voter competence has made significant contributions to our understanding of politics, but at this point there are diminishing returns to the endeavor. There is little reason, in theory or in practice, to expect voter competence to improve dramatically enough to make much of a difference, but there is reason to think that officials’ competence can vary enough to make large differences. To understand variations in government performance, therefore, we would do better to focus on the abilities and performance of officials, not ordinary citizens.
Keywords: competence, civic competence, incompetence, political sophistication, political knowledge, political information, Condorcet, jury theorem, information aggregation, electoral college
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation