Preference falsification

From: Agner Fog (
Date: Tue 01 Mar 2005 - 10:16:51 GMT

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    Just read a good book:

    Timur Kuran: Private truths, public lies: The social consequences of preference falsification. Harvard University Press 1995

    It's about people hiding their true beliefs and saying something else. The book contains an exceptionally rich collection of examples from many different cultures, different political systems, and different historical epochs. The theoretical analysis is mostly in line with the "public choice" tradition of economics: A person who fakes another opinion than his true belief does so for the rational reason of weighing the value of his reputation against the value of expressing his true belief. The book implicitly refers to memetics in statements like:

    >When people die they take with them their private knowledge, including
    >their ideas at odds with public discourse. Like their genes, their
    >expressed ideas live on in their descendants; their unexpressed beliefs
    >may not.

    The same topic is covered by the book: Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann: The spiral of silence: public opinion - our social skin. University of Chicago Press 1984.

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