Economic Theories and the Science of Inter-Branch Relations
One of the fastest-developing areas of political science studies the relationship between the different branches of government. Within that literature, the most popular research questions concern the delegation of powers by one branch to another, the resulting levels of discretion of the delegate, and the control mechanisms available to the delegator. The resulting analyses draw heavily from a handful of economic theories, such as principal-agent, the positive theory of agency, transactions cost economics, and incomplete contracts theory. This article (a) differentiates between those theories, (b) argues that mixing those theories is a self-defeating mistake, and (c) makes a strong and comparative point in favour of re-directing our studies in inter-branch relations towards transactions cost economics. Yet, a truly consistent political-scientific theory of transactions cost economics is still to be developed. The conclusions point to the way forward for the construction of such a theory.
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