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Public choice, social choice, and political economy

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  • Dennis Mueller

Abstract

Since World War II a large literature has arisen that uses the methodology of economics to examine the behavior of governments and the actors in them. Some scholars refer to their research as public choice, some as social choice, and still others as political economy. This article discusses the distinctions among these three terms. It concludes that all of the research falling under these three headings has much in common, and that people who refer to their work as public choice or political economy are essentially employing identical methodologies. Contributions to public choice, narrowly defined, are more often positive and empirical analyses of government behavior than those in social choice, narrowly defined. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis Mueller, 2015. "Public choice, social choice, and political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 379-387, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:163:y:2015:i:3:p:379-387
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-015-0244-0
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles B. Blankart & Gerrit B. Koester, 2006. "Political Economics versus Public Choice," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 171-200, May.
    2. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
    3. Hinich, Melvin J., 1977. "Equilibrium in spatial voting: The median voter result is an artifact," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 208-219, December.
    4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    5. Daron Acemoglu, 2005. "Constitutions, Politics and Economics: A Review Essay on Persson and Tabellini's "The Economic Effect of Constitutions"," NBER Working Papers 11235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Social Choice, Democracy, and Free Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 114-114.
    7. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
    8. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    9. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, February.
    10. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1998. "Towards micropolitical foundations of public finance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 685-694, May.
    11. James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334-334.
    12. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Positive; Normative; Theoretical; Empirical; B41; D71; D79; H11;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D79 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Other
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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