public choice

Gordon Tullock
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
Alternate versions available: 1987 Edition
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By assuming that voters, politicians and bureaucrats are mainly self-interested, public choice uses economic tools to deal with the traditional problems of political science. Its findings revolve around the effects of voter ignorance, agenda control and the incentives facing bureaucrats in sacrificing the public interest to special interests. The design of improved governmental methods based on the positive information about how governments actually function has been an important part of public choice. Constitutional reforms advocated variously by public choice thinkers include direct voting, proportional representation, bicameral legislatures, reinforced majorities, competition between government departments, and contracting out government activities.
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How to cite this article

Tullock, Gordon. "public choice." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 13 December 2017 <> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.1361

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