Does Political Reform Increase Wealth?: Or, Why the Difference between the Chicago and Virginia Schools Is Really an Elasticity Question
This paper shows that, contrary to G. S. Becker's work, there is no innate tendency for political competition to reduce the total cost of government wealth transfers. Simple examples demonstrate how the effects of government policies on total wealth boil down to the elasticities of the marginal support and opposition curves. Disagreements between the Chicago and Virginia schools of political economy can be understood as a disagreement about these elasticities. The broader implications for this argument in terms of the efficiency of the common law are also discussed. Copyright 1997 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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