Essay on Public Choice

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  • Topic: Public choice theory, Social Choice and Individual Values, Libertarianism
  • Pages : 6 (761 words )
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  • Published : March 19, 2013
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Public choice

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Public choice or public choice theory has been described as "the use of economic tools to deal with traditional problems of political science".[1] Its content includes the study of political behavior.[2] In political science, it is the subset of positive political theory that models voters, politicians, and bureaucrats as mainly self-interested.[1] In particular, it studies such agents and their interactions in the social system either as such or under alternative constitutional rules. These can be represented in a number of ways, including standard constrained utility maximization, game theory, or decision theory. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis ("what is") but is often used for normative purposes ("what ought to be"), to identify a problem or suggest how a system could be improved by changes in constitutional rules, the subject of constitutional economics.[1][3]

Within the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes, public choice is a subarea of microeconomics, under JEL: D7, Analysis of Collective Decision-Making, and including JEL: D72, Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior.[4] Public choice theory is also closely related to social choice theory, a mathematical approach to aggregation of individual interests, welfares, or votes.[5] Much early work had aspects of both, and both use the tools of economics and game theory. Since voter behavior influences the behavior of public officials, public choice theory often uses results from social choice theory. General treatments of public choice may also be classified under public economics.[6]

Contents
[hide] 1 Background and development
2 Democracy
3 Decision-making processes and the state
4 "Expressive interests" and democratic irrationality
5 Special interests
6 Rent-seeking
7 Bureaucracy
8 Political stance
9 Recognition
10 Criticisms
11 See also
12 Notes
13 References
14 Further reading
15 External links

[edit] Background and development

A precursor of modern public choice theory was Knut Wicksell (1896),[7] which treated government as political exchange, a quid pro quo, in formulating a benefit principle linking taxes and expenditures.[8]

Some subsequent economic analysis has been described as treating government as though it attempted "to maximize some kind sort of welfare function for society" and as distinct from characterizations of economic agents, such as those in business.[1] In contrast, public choice theory modeled government as made up of officials who, besides pursuing the public interest, might act to benefit themselves, for example in the budget-maximizing model of bureaucracy, possibly at the cost of...
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