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factual
THINKING ALLOWED
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Thinking Allowed
Wednesday 16:00-16:30
Laurie Taylor discusses the latest social science research.
02 May 2007       repeat 06 May 2007
Listen to this programme in full
RATIONAL VOTER
In 1957 Anthony Downs wrote An Economic Theory of Democracy in which he tried to imagine an electoral world in which everyone behaved rationally.  He concluded that from a strictly rational point of view there is no point in voting and that there is no point in expanding time and effort learning about politics, that in effect it was rational to be ignorant.

In his new book The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, Professor Brian Caplan develops the idea that voters are worse than ignorant, they are in fact irrational and vote accordingly.

On the day before local and regional elections, Laurie Taylor is joined by Professor Bryan Caplan, and Paul Whiteley, Professor of Government at the University if Essex and Co-Director of the British Election Study to discuss whether electorates in democracies are ignorant and irrational, and if so whether it matters.


DRUGS IN AFGHANISTAN
In 1999 Sociologist David MacDonald became the Drug Demand Reduction Specialist for the United Nations’s Afghanistan programme, working for a number of counter narcotics projects in Kabul. Since 2006 he has become an independent consultant on drugs and development.

David Macdonald has just published a book called Drugs in Afghanistan: Opium, Outlaws and Scorpion Tales talks about the culture of heroin growth and use in contemporary Afghanistan.
Additional information: 

Bryan Caplan, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN-10: 0691129428
ISBN-13: 978-0691129426

Paul Whiteley, Professor of Government at the University Essex and Co-Director of the British Election Study

British Election Study

Political Choice in Britain
Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, Paul Whiteley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN-10: 0199266549
ISBN-13: 978-0199266548

David Macdonald, Sociologist, writer and Drugs Demand Reduction Advisor for the United Nations’ drugs controls programme in Afghanistan.

Drugs in Afghanistan: Opium, Outlaws and Scorpion Tales
Publisher: Pluto Press
ISBN-10: 074532617X 
ISBN-13: 978-0745326177

Afghanistan Drug Use Survey 2005
(United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – Government of Afghanistan Ministry of Counter Narcotics)
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