University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Ironic Choices in Policymaking

Stephen Garcia, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

a 2006 CLOSUP Small Grants Program award

Abstract:
A classic finding in social psychology is naïve realism – people’s false belief that they view the world “objectively” and that others share in this “objective” view of reality. Of course, people have subjective views of reality, as a target may appear differently from different perspectives. Accordingly, this project examines how state policy makers and the general public process information differently as a function of their unique perspectives. More specifically, this project explores how policy makers in their efforts to select strong penalties for civil infractions may ironically choose weaker penalties from the perspective of the general public.

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University of Michigan Gateway Ford School Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy