The Economic Benefits of Political Disagreement

partisan gridlockWe live in an age of partisan gridlock, with public debates that often sound like bickering. And that’s good for the country.

That’s according to a recent article by Nita Rudra, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University, and Siddharth Chandra, a professor of economics at Michigan State University. In a piece for the Washington Post, they say that contentious debate results in stable economic outcomes.

The deliberative process serves governing elites with critical (as well as a diverse array of) information about the pros and cons of proposed policies, and drives them to embrace “safe,” incremental policy proposals to avoid uncontrollable economic outcomes that could jeopardize their incumbency. This process of diversification buffers the economy from the extreme effects that an under-informed and one-sided policy, driven by a single or small group of privileged but self-interested partisans, may produce.

The authors argue that while all of our public debate may seem burdensome and sometimes downright annoying, it provides stability that wouldn’t exist without all of this disagreement.

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