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Political realism and models of the state - Antonio de Viti de Marco and the origins of Public Choice


  • Giuranno, Michele


  • Mosca, Manuela


It is well known that one of the features of Public Choice, political realism, in Italy is embedded in a time-honored tradition going back to Machiavelli, and perpetuated by G. Mosca and Pareto in their political and sociological writings. The scientific spirit, which in their era led to the foundation of various social disciplines, fostered the application of economic analysis to the political sphere. In this context the initiator of the pure theory of public finance, Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858-1943), formulated an economic model of the state, consisting of two types of constitutional extremes: the absolute state, and the democratic state. In this work, we ask how this model may be reconciled to G. Mosca and Pareto’s theory of the ruling class, which De Viti de Marco agreed with. Finally, we analyze the validity of this theoretical construction for the interpretation of collusion, rent seeking and "clientelism", i.e. the redistribution of extracted rent, which takes place in the form of discretionary allocation of public jobs, public contracts and other corporative favours. What emerges provides reasons to reflect upon for further developments in Public Choice.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuranno, Michele & Mosca, Manuela, 2015. "Political realism and models of the state - Antonio de Viti de Marco and the origins of Public Choice," POLIS Working Papers 184, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:uca:ucapdv:184

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giuranno, Michele & Nocco, Antonella, 2015. "Trade tariff, wage gap and public spending," POLIS Working Papers 181, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    2. Amedeo Fossati, 2016. "The First Principles of Public Finance by Antonio de Viti de Marco: Is There Any Disparity between the Assessments of the Italian and the English Speaking Scholars?," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(118-119-1), pages 88-110.
    3. Manuela Mosca, 2016. "Antonio de Viti de Marco as a Political Commentator in the Daily Press," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(1), pages 43-63.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other

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