The Role of Homo Oeconomicus in the Political Economy of James Buchanan
Whenever the economic model of behaviour is to be applied, the utility function has – at least somewhat – to be specified. Buchanan generally prefers to apply a rather narrow version. However, he acknowledges that it is hardly possible to explain actual behaviour of individuals with such a version, so in performing empirical economic research he accepts that we have to use a more open one. He also acknowledges that people might behave differently in markets than they do in politics; other-regarding behaviour might be more pronounced in politics as compared to markets. Which version should be applied in constitutional economics, however, is a different question. Following a long ongoing tradition in political philosophy, he insists that – for methodological reasons – the narrow version is the correct one to be applied; this is the way to compare different sets of rules when analysing the possible abuse of power by rulers in order to prevent it as far as possible. The same should also be taken into account when analysing the process of policy advice. The narrow Homo Oeconomicus model should, however, not be misunderstood as a normative prescription.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2014|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +41 71 224 23 25
Fax: +41 71 224 31 35
Web page: http://www.seps.unisg.ch/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brennan, Geoffrey & Buchanan, James, 1983. "Predictive Power and the Choice among Regimes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(369), pages 89-105, March.
- James M. Buchanan, 1954. "Individual Choice in Voting and the Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 334.
- Gordon, Scott, 1976. "The New Contractarians," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 573-90, June.
- Buchanan, James M, 1987.
"The Constitution of Economic Policy,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 243-50, June.
- Shlomo Maital, 1986. "Prometheus Rebound: On Welfare-Improving Constraints," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 337-344, Jul-Sep.
- Frey, Bruno S, 1997. "A Constitution for Knaves Crowds Out Civic Virtues," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(443), pages 1043-53, July.
- H. M. Shefrin & Richard Thaler, 1977.
"An Economic Theory of Self-Control,"
NBER Working Papers
0208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Buchanan, James M, 1978. "Markets, States, and the Extent of Morals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 364-68, May.
- Kliemt, Hartmut, 1986. "The veil of insignificance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 333-344.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2014:03. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Martina Flockerzi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.