Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Trust, Reputation, and Poll Watching

Bill Sjostrom at the Atlantic Blog has a nice piece on why people are more likely to trust paperless transactions with businesses than they are with bureaucrats.

If a business screws up, there are usually fairly close substitutes available from competitors, and so most businesses try not to screw up. But if a bureaucrat screws up, finding a substitute bureaucracy in a different jurisdiction can be pretty costly: selling your house, buying a new one, quitting your old job, and finding a new one (or commuting to your old one) are very costly ways of searching out the next best substitute.

So it is quite reasonable that we are willing to trust businesses with many paperless transactions; but for elections we want paper trails and/or poll watchers.
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