Re: Confidence: A Basic Politics Puzzle

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 24 Feb 1997 12:54:33 -0800 (PST)

Hal Finney writes:
>Another area where people feel they know more than the professionals
>is sports. People involved in professional sports seem to have all
>their decisions second guessed and vociferously criticized, from hiring
>and salary decisions down to the selection of when to pass versus run
>the ball. And the fans seem very confident about their criticisms even
>though most of them have never run or coached a professional team.
>What do professional sports have in common with politics?

An interesting observation. David Friedman also finds sports
spectatorship the best analogy with voting motivations. The fun is to
take sides and make some team your "team". I'm not sure why this
behavior happens either, but these two theories of politics also seem
plausible here:

>We're in a signaling game where political knowledge is taken as a sign
>of intelligence and social connectedness. ... people are trying to
>signal their membership in particular social groups distinguished by
>political "beliefs" (really verbal banners).

Robin D. Hanson