11 months ago2 views
It’s Not Irrational. It’s Signaling Behavior.
But voters also tend to assume that politicians who are tough on crime are at least somewhat more likely than others to favor the death penalty,
and that’s all it takes to launch the dynamic that Mr. Loury and Mr. Goffman described.
Building on earlier work by the sociologist Erving Goffman, Mr. Loury’s core insight was
that people, especially politicians, often engage in signaling games, which put enormous pressure on them to act in ways that contradict their private beliefs.
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Because economists generally assume that people behave rationally, you might expect members of my profession to have been flummoxed
by the behavior of many United States senators during the repeated, failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Some Republican senators will conclude that voting against an Obamacare repeal is dangerous, regardless of their own beliefs,
since going against the party line could cause many voters to question their faithfulness to conservative principles.