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Public Choice Economics

Public choice economics is the study of politics within an economic framework. It views actors within a political system – i.e., politicians, lobbyists, special interest groups, and voters - as self-interested parties, rather than individuals who pursue the public good. A politician, for example, will likely seek re-election as his or her primary goal. This will make him or her inclined to accept funding and special favors from lobbying groups. Individual voters, on the other hand, gain little benefit from becoming politically aware but incur relatively high costs in acquiring relevant political information. Not only does their participation in the political process tend to be ill-informed, but voters will likely vote for politicians who promise to provide them with free goods and services. Public choice analysis suggests that these poor political incentives can diminish the general welfare as each party seeks its self-interest.

 

Ivan Pongracic - Public Choice Economics

 

Isaac Morehouse - Public Choice

Related Publications

MULTIMEDIA

Public Choice

SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

ARCHIVE

The Crazy Arithmetic of Voting

FEBRUARY 08, 2008 by SHELDON RICHMAN

The hoopla over Super Tuesday reminded me of an essay I read long ago byBruno Leoni (1913-1967), an Italian legal scholar and great champion of liberty. I've been meaning to discuss the manyimportant themes in his book, Freedom and the Law (expanded third edition), and will surely return toit in the near future. But for now I'll focus on the final chapter, "VotingVersus the Market." More . . .

A NEW article by Sheldon Richman


ARCHIVE

THE GOAL IS FREEDOMThe Political Economy of Fear

SEPTEMBER 15, 2006

Freeman columnist Robert Higgs has won the 2006 Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties. I can think of no one is more deserving of this award. Past winners include James Bovard, Phil Zimmermann (author of "Pretty Good Privacy," the computer encryption program for everyone), Nat Hentoff, Rep. Ron Paul, Richard Epstein, and Karl Hess. More . . .

A NEW article by Sheldon Richman

Related Freeman Articles

ANYTHING PEACEFUL

FEE in Translation, Public Choice in Iran

FEBRUARY 14, 2013 by MICHAEL NOLAN

FEE's message is being spread to Iran and Azerbaijan.

BOOK REVIEW

Public Choice—A Primer

FEBRUARY 14, 2013 by VICTOR STEPIEN

Victor Stepien reviews Eamonn Butler's Public Choice--A Primer.

BOOK REVIEW

Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Visions of the State

A Series of Provocative Exchanges Between Two Well-Known Pillars of Economics

NOVEMBER 01, 2000 by MARK SKOUSEN

BOOK REVIEW

Policy Analysis and Public Choice: Selected Papers by William A. Niskanen

A Delightful Smorgasboard of Policy Analysis

JUNE 01, 1999 by BRUCE YANDLE

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MULTIMEDIA - VIDEO

Public Choice Theory

FEBRUARY 04, 2011

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CURRENT ISSUE

April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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