Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Does voting for an inefficient government make sense?

This question is asked by the Economic Logician, he writes
Given a distribution of skills and interest in public service in the labor force, would it be best if the public-minded workers go into government or to the private sector? Essentially, this is what Esteban Jaimovich and Juan Pablo Rud ask. If the better ones go private, then the unmotivated ones go into government and wreak havoc: they seek rents, hire more public (low-skilled) employees, thus inflating their wages and depressing the returns of the most skilled private workers, which lessens their incentives to do better in terms of entrepreurship. Jaimovich and Rud also claim that this outcome is actually preferred by the (low-skilled) working class, because of the higher wage. They also support the outcomes of their model with observations from the data.
A counter argument as to why inefficient government is good comes from this from an address, Economic Freedom, Human Freedom, Political Freedom, given by Milton Friedman, at the Smith Center for Private Enterprise Studies in 1991.
The United States today is more than 50% socialist in terms of the fraction of our resources that are controlled by the government. Fortunately, socialism is so inefficient that it does not control 50% of our lives. Fortunately, most of that is wasted. People worry about government waste; I don't. I just shudder at what would happen to freedom in this country if the government were efficient in spending our money.
Trade-offs are an inescapable part of the economy.

1 comment:

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