Hayek thought that all economic behavior (and by implication other human behavior) is based on fallible interpretations of what information is important and of its implications for the future. This epistemological idea animated not only his heterodox economic thought, but his ideal of the rule of...
Published October 21st 2014 by Routledge
What Determines Public Opinion?
In the Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion (1992), John Zaller set out one of the most influential models of opinion formation: he presented the public as a pliable instrument of political elites, who are able to garner support simply by sending "cues" through the mass media telling Republicans or...
Published July 22nd 2014 by Routledge
System Effects and the Problem of Prediction
The complexity of the modern world makes it difficult to predict the effects of political actions. In his 1992 book, System Effects, Robert Jervis underscored this difficulty by pointing to various sources of complexity when people interact. For example, they may misperceive each other’s...
Published October 10th 2013 by Routledge
Since at least the time of Plato, political scientists and philosophers have been concerned about what citizens and rulers should know if they are to be governed—and govern—well. Moreover, the increasing complexity of modern societies has revivified thinking about and around the critical concept of...
Published November 19th 2012 by Routledge
In the foundational document of modern public-opinion research, Philip E. Converse’s "The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics" (1964) established the U.S. public’s startling political ignorance. This volume makes Converse’s long out-of-print article available again and brings together a...
Published April 26th 2012 by Routledge
In The Rhetorical Presidency, Jeffrey Tulis argues that the president’s relationship to the public has changed dramatically since the Constitution was enacted: while previously the president avoided any discussions of public policy so as to avoid demagoguery, the president is now expected to go...
Published February 13th 2012 by Routledge