Rational Irrationality Across Institutional Contexts

Ryan Murphy, Southern Methodist University


Abstract: This paper considers how Bryan Caplan’s concept of rational irrationality may manifest in various political institutional arrangements, building off the demand curve for irrationality. Mob democracy, anarchy, autocracy, and constitutionally constrained democracy are the governance structures addressed. While anarchy is strictly better than mob democracy, under certain conditions, democracy, anarchy, or constitutionally constrained democracy may yield the best outcomes depending on the circumstances.