Twenty years ago Leif Lewin made the case that altruistic motives are more common than selfish motives among voters, politicians, and bureaucrats. We propose that motives and beliefs emerge as reactions to immediate feedback from technical-causal, material-economic, and moral-social aspects of the political task environment. In the absence of certain kinds of technical-causal and material-economic feedback, moral-social feedback leads individuals to the altruism Lewin documents, but also to righteousness and myopia. The mix of altruism, righteousness, and myopia increases the focus on winning the next high-stakes election rather than on discovering or enforcing socially productive institutions.
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DOI 10.1080/08913811.2011.635867
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Cooperation for the Common Good: Reply to the Symposium.Leif Lewin - 2011 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 23 (3):359-370.

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