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date: 25 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter introduces readers to the methodology and research of public choice. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first discusses the methodology of the public choice research program, explaining the logic behind the rational choice principle and the development of rational choice models. There is much about politics that can be understood as the direct consequence of purposeful behavior, from public policies and electoral outcomes to institutional design and evolution. The second half of the chapter provides a short overview of the core results and puzzles explored by the public choice research program. These can roughly be divided into the theories of elections, interest group politics, and constitutional political economy. In addition, there are a variety of results from empirical tests of those theories and positive and normative methodological issues. Although a good deal of specialization has emerged in the past half century of public choice research, the various specialties continue to use the rational choice principle as their point of departure, as well as the models and findings of early public choice research.

Keywords: public choice, survey, rational choice principle, median voter, rent seeking, constitutional political economy, rational choice models, public choice methodology

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