Personal Preference Bias in the Bubble

In a recent blog post on EconLog, economist Bryan Caplan articulates an excellent example of the personal preference bias that keeps many people from accepting that government redistribution and welfare programs can have negative outcomes (and outcomes exactly opposite of what is intended).

In the blog post, he ties together the three books Charles Murray has written on poverty, Losing Ground, The Bell Curve and Coming Apart.

Murray doesn’t just explain poverty; he explains elites’ failure to understand poverty.  Elites live in a high-IQ, low-impulsiveness Bubble.  When they introspect, they correctly conclude that the welfare state has little effect on theirbehavior.  They then incorrectly infer that the welfare state has little effect on anyone‘s behavior.  If elites understood the world outside their Bubble a little better, they would have foreseen – and largely avoided – the welfare state’s negative effects on work and family.

1 thought on “Personal Preference Bias in the Bubble

  1. Pingback: a simple explanation of why so many economists are so often surprised (by “trends” AKA “fat tails”) « JRFibonacci's blog: partnering with reality


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