I’ll be on vacation in Southern California for the next two weeks, and out of internet contact for most of the first. But never fear, the excellent Prof. Eric Crampton of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand will be filling in for me.

What can I say about Eric? He shares most of my research interests – we’re both big fans of (the study of) expressive voting, voter irrationality, IQ, personality, etc. We’ve got eerily similar Five Factor Personality profiles. The main difference is that he’s high in Anger, and I’m low. So expect a blogger who’s a little more outraged, and laughs a little less at his own jokes.

Eric’s working an an array of projects, but here’s his description of the one that stands out the most to me:

I also plan on doing a fair bit more work on expressive voting, especially concerning ways that economic retrospective voting combined with slack on the part of political agents can mitigate inefficiencies caused by expressive voting.

Hopefully he’ll complete this before my search for systematically biased beliefs about political responsibility (with Ilya Somin) comes to fruition. Eric’s story will probably explain why political outcomes aren’t far worse than they are, but it’s hard for retrospective voting to work well if voters don’t know which politicians to blame when bad things happen.

Perhaps my trip to SoCal will give me a little more insight on these questions. I still suspect that Gray Davis was scapegoated by the people of California for giving them the counter-productive policies they demanded. And it’s a good thing, too. If politicians are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” adopt popular policies rooted in economic illiteracy, at least there is some incentive for politicians to take a more sensible course and hope the results speak for themselves by the next election.