Nation of Beancounters

How to vote

Posted in Uncategorized by Navin Kumar on August 29, 2012

Robin Hanson assumes you don’t know much, that you want to look good and are going to vote, whether you should or not. He suggests –

The thing you probably know best is your own life. So a good simple strategy is to vote “retrospectively,” i.e., for incumbents if your live goes well, and against them if your life goes badly. The more voters who do this, the stronger incentives incumbents have to make most lives go well.

For life quality extremes this advice is clear, but what if your life is near the middle? What should be the cutoff between a good and bad life? One simple reference is how you expected your life to go when incumbents were elected – reelect them if your life has gone better than expected.

Note that Obama would do badly, and undeservedly so, under this system. But costs, benefits, rule utilitarianism and all that jazz.


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