The willingness-to-pay for Caplanian irrationality

Ryan Murphy, Southern Methodist University


Bryan Caplan’s The Myth of the Rational Voter popularizes the “near-neoclassical” demand curve for irrationality. This article attempts to show that there is a demand for irrationality at prices higher than zero. This may change policy implications. Many instances of consumer behavior, such as paying a premium for locally produced and “fair trade” goods, the use of local currencies, and the failure to vaccinate children, are other instances of the means-ends irrationality that Caplan observes in political markets.