Reflections on World on Fire

posted by
February 28, 2011
by Bryan Caplan  
Posted in Commentary

"Before I critique [author Amy] Chua's thesis, let me begin with some praise. World on Fire is a great example of what I call 'behavioral political economy.' Her model of politics begins with psychologically plausible assumptions like 'Unsuccessful majorities resent economically successful minorities,' and 'Politicians can win power by satisfying this resentment in ways that make the majority even poorer.' She takes anti-market and especially anti-foreign bias very seriously. Scientifically speaking, this is light-years ahead of hundreds of obtuse rational voter models. Even if Chua were completely wrong, she'd still be pointing social scientists in the right direction. Still, despite many thought-provoking insights, I see two glaring problems with World on Fire." (02/28/11)  

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