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The Democratic Efficiency Debate and Definitions of Political Equilibrium

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  • Sutter, Daniel

Abstract

An ongoing debate has been occurring within public choice for over a decade concerning the efficiency of democracy. Virginia Political Economy holds that political markets perform very differently from traditional markets. Chicago Political Economy, exemplified by the work of Becker and Wittman, maintains that political equilibrium, properly defined, is relatively efficient. I argue that the debate can be understood at least partially in methodological terms: Chicago views politics exclusively within the equilibrium framework of traditional economics, while Virginia draws at least implicitly on Austrian economics' view of the economy as a disequilibrium process. I contend that the factors which public choice scholarship has identified as distinguishing politics from markets--rational ignorance, majority rule, collective outcomes--affect the performance of politics as a process even if political equilibrium is relatively efficient. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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  • Sutter, Daniel, 2002. "The Democratic Efficiency Debate and Definitions of Political Equilibrium," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 15(2-3), pages 199-209, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:15:y:2002:i:2-3:p:199-209
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    Cited by:

    1. Diana Thomas & Michael Thomas, 2014. "Entrepreneurship: Catallactic and constitutional perspectives," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 11-22, March.
    2. Peter Boettke & Christopher Coyne & Peter Leeson, 2007. "Saving government failure theory from itself: recasting political economy from an Austrian perspective," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 127-143, June.
    3. Stroup, Michael D., 2008. "Separating the influence of capitalism and democracy on women's well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 560-572, September.
    4. Anthony Evans, 2014. "A subjectivist’s solution to the limits of public choice," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 23-44, March.

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