Is epistocracy irrational?

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Proponents of epistocracy worry that voter ignorance can harm democracies. To combat such ignorance, they recommend allocating more political power to politically knowledgeable citizens. However, recent critics of epistocracy contend that epistocratic institutions risk causing even more harm, since evidence from political psychology indicates that politically knowledgeable citizens are typically less rational about politics than their less knowledgeable counterparts, if so, epistocratic institutions may be epistemically inferior to democratic alternatives.

I argue that this 'problem of epistocratic irrationality' can be overcome. First, I argue that critics of epistocracy have overlooked several complications regarding the data they claim shows that more knowledgeable citizens are less politically rational. Second, I argue that appropriately designed epistocratic institutions could overcome the problem of epistocratic irrationality even if such critics have interpreted the data correctly.
Period29 Nov 2022
Degree of RecognitionInstitutional