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The Constitution of Economic Policy

Author

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  • Buchanan, James M.

    (George Mason University)

Abstract

One of the most exciting intellectual moments of my career was my 1984 discovery of Knut Wicksell's unknown and untranslated dissertation, Finanztheoretische Untersuchungen, buried in the dusty stacks of Chicago's old Harper Library. Only the immediate post-dissertation leisure of an academic novice allowed for the browsing that produced my own dramatic example of learning by serendipity. Wicksell's new principle of justice in taxation gave me a tremendous surge of self-confidence. Wicksell, who was an established figure in the history of economic ideas, challenged the orthodoxy of public finance theory along lines that were congenial with my own developing stream of critical consciousness. From that moment in Chicago, I took on the determination to make Wicksell's contribution known to a wider audience, and I commenced immediately a translation effort that took some time and considerable help from Elizabeth Henderson, before final publication.

Suggested Citation

  • Buchanan, James M., 1986. "The Constitution of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1986-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:nobelp:1986_001
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    Keywords

    Economic Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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