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Cooperation for the common good: Reply to the symposium
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2011 (English)In: Critical review (New York, N.Y.), ISSN 0891-3811, E-ISSN 1933-8007, Vol. 23, no 3, 359-370 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The "symmetry assumption" in public-choice theory-the idea that people act just as selfishly in the political sphere as they do in the economic sphere-is a good theory that runs afoul of much of the evidence. The public-choice theorists in this symposium, Munger and Mueller, have thus retreated from claiming that public choice explains most political behavior, with Munger positing it as an ideal type that, in principle, might explain no behavior at all. For example, Berman suggests that even politicians who say and do "anything" to be elected or re-elected may well do so in order to acquire the power they think they need if they are to enact policies that will serve the public good. The normative project of "constitutional political economy" into which the original, empirical version of public choice seems to have evolved may or may not tell us how to structure institutions to prevent greedy actors from using politics as a means to their personal aggrandizement. But that project cannot, even hypothetically, produce the public-choice "findings" of widespread self-interestedness in politics that my book found were nonexistent.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 23, no 3, 359-370 p.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172244DOI: 10.1080/08913811.2011.641211ISI: 000300165700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-172244DiVA: diva2:513923
Available from: 2012-04-04 Created: 2012-04-03 Last updated: 2012-04-04Bibliographically approved

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