- Copyright Page
- Rational Choice and Politics: An Introduction to the Research Program and Methodology of Public Choice
- Choosing among Governments
- Public Choice: Early Contributions
- From Paired Comparisons and Cycles to Arrow’s Theorem
- Institution-Induced Stability
- Voting Power
- Aggregation of Information by Binary Voting Rules
- Political Choices in One Dimension: Theory
- Political Choices in One Dimension: Applications
- Spatial Voting Models of Party Competition in Two Dimensions
- Spatial Social Choice
- Economic Voting
- Valence Politics
- The Study of Strategic Voting
- Turnout: Why Do Voters Vote?
- Expressive Voting
- Altruism and Political Participation
- Social Embeddedness and Rational Turnout
- Information Cues and Rational Ignorance
- Campaign Finance
- Primaries, Conventions, and Other Methods for Nominating Candidates: How Do They Matter?
- Logrolling and Coalitions
- Collective Action
- Rent Seeking: The Social Cost of Contestable Benefits
- The Structure of Contests and the Extent of Dissipation
- The Political Economy of Rent Creation and Rent Extraction
- Empirical Evidence on Rent-Seeking Costs
- “The Bureaucracy” as an Interest Group
- Interest Groups and Regulatory Capture
- The Political Economy of Trust
- Contested Political Persuasion
- Stochastic Process Models of Preference Change
- Leadership as Persuasion
- Fairness Concepts
- Social Contract versus Invisible Hand: Agreeing to Solve Social Dilemmas
- Utilitarianism as a Criterion for State Action
- Public Choice and Happiness
- Kantianism and Political Institutions
- Public Choice and Libertarianism
- Public Choice and Social Democracy
- Supreme Values, Totalitarianism, and Terrorism
- Fair Division in Dispute Resolution
- Fair Division in Allocating Cabinet Ministries
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter investigates the relationship between public choice and libertarianism. Public choice is a positive enterprise, the application of methodological individualism to the study of political processes and institutions. Libertarianism is a political philosophy that stresses individual liberty from the arbitrary power of the state. This chapter argues that public choice has had a substantial influence in the development of libertarian thought in the second half of the twentieth century. First, public choice theory reaches several conclusions that are consistent with libertarian assumptions about politics. Second, some public choice theorists have also directly contributed to the development of libertarianism in their politico-philosophical writings. In particular, this chapter focuses on the work of James Buchanan, one of the founders of the discipline and a major contributor to the philosophical debates in the 1970s about the proper role of the state in a free society. Finally, the chapter argues that some of the major criticisms of public choice, by both professional economists and libertarian purists, fail to understand the distinction between positive and normative in the writing of public choice theorists.
Peter J. Boettke is University Professor of Economics and Philosophy at George Mason University, the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, and the Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Ennio E. Piano is a PhD student in the Department of Economics at George Mason University.
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