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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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FEE offers live online events for people new to the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society.

CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited our social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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