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Five Questions: An Integrated Research Agenda for Public Choice


  • Michael Munger



All societies, political or academic, must choose among alternatives; these choices can be good, or bad. The worst choice may be looking for“answers” before there is consensus, or at least a debate, on what the real questions should be. Five “real” questions are offered here, in an integrated research agenda for Public Choice. My premis is that there is a single, fundamental human problem: Construct or preserve institutions that make self-interested individual action not inconsistent with group welfare. All social science research is either a distraction, or a step toward understanding at least one of five questions: (1) What are Preferences? (2) What are feasible Alternatives? (3) How much does the form of Implementation affect the way alternatives are valued? (4) How do alternatives chosen Today affect the Menu of alternatives available in the Future? (5) What is Good? How would we know if some outcomes are better than others? Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Munger, 2000. "Five Questions: An Integrated Research Agenda for Public Choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 1-12, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:103:y:2000:i:1:p:1-12
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1005048904160

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Denzau, Arthur T & North, Douglass C, 1994. "Shared Mental Models: Ideologies and Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 3-31.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:82:y:1988:i:02:p:567-576_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:04:p:925-940_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Buchanan, James M, 1975. "A Contractarian Paradigm for Applying Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 225-230, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Munger, 2010. "Endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful: Elinor Ostrom and the diversity of institutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 263-268, June.
    2. Dijkstra, Bouwe R., 2007. "Samaritan versus rotten kid: Another look," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 91-110, September.
    3. Michael Munger, 2006. "Preference modification vs. incentive manipulation as tools of terrorist recruitment: The role of culture," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 131-146, July.

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