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An Introduction to Public Choice

Peter Van Doren returns to Free Thoughts for a discussion on public choice economics and how it affects political decision making.

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This week Peter Van Doren joins us to explain the economics of decision making in politics. What is public choice theory and how does it explain what happens in a majority rules democracy? Is public choice a type of macroeconomic theory? How does ordering a series of votes change their outcome? What’s rent-seeking? What does the phrase “concentrated benefits and diffuse costs” mean? What’s the median voter theorem and how does it affect our politics in America?


Show Notes and Further Reading

Kenneth Arrow, Social Choice and Individual Values (book)

Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy (book)

Mancur Olson, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (book)

James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (book)

Michael E. Levine and Charles R. Plott, “Agenda Influence and Its Implications” (article)

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) (Wikipedia article)

Say’s Law (Wikipedia article)

Pareto Efficiency (Wikipedia article)