Public Choice III

Public Choice III

Public Choice III

Public Choice III

Synopsis

This book represents a considerable revision and expansion of Public Choice II (1989). Six new chapters have been added, and several chapters from the previous edition have been extensively revised. The discussion of empirical work in public choice has been greatly expanded. As in the previous editions, all of the major topics of public choice are covered. These include: why the state exists, voting rules, federalism, the theory of clubs, two-party and multiparty electoral systems, rent seeking, bureaucracy, interest groups, dictatorship, the size of government, voter participation, and political business cycles. Normative issues in public choice are also examined including a normative analysis of the simple majority rule, Bergson-Samuelson social welfare functions, the Arrow and Sen impossibility theorems, Rawls's social contract theory and the constitutional political economy of Buchanan and Tullock.

Excerpt

This book is a revision of Public Choice II. In revising the book, I have largely retained the structure of Public Choice II–most of the material contained in that volume reappears in this one. In some cases, this has resulted in very modest changes in a chapter and in quite substantial changes in others. Several new chapters have been written to cover topics that have cropped up or increased in importance since the previous edition was written. I have also attempted to retain the same level of difficulty as the previous version. Because the literature has become continuously more theoretical and mathematical, more mathematics appears in the new material than in the previous text, and the distinction between “easy” and “difficult” sections denoted by a asterick has become more arbitrary. Some may question my decision not to drop more material from the previous text, where little new work has appeared, to leave more space for new material. I have chosen not to go this route because I still think of the book as a survey of all of the major topics in public choice. That little new has appeared concerning Arrow impossibility theorems in recent years does not imply that the issues raised by this work are any less important, or that they should be omitted in a basic course in public choice–or so I believe.

Public Choice III represents a substantial expansion of its predecessor, just as Public Choice II was a substantial expansion of its forerunner. Nevertheless, the fraction of the literature covered adequately by Public Choice III is far smaller than that of the earlier versions of the text. I fear that many readers will feel that I have done an inadequate job of covering this or that topic, or that I have unfairly neglected some important contributions. I apologize for such omissions. To keep the book within reasonable bounds, I have had to shortchange some questions and authors.

Those familiar with Public Choice II may find the following summary of changes helpful.

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