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Myth of Democratic Failure Why Political Institutions Are Efficient

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ISBN-10: 0226904237

ISBN-13: 9780226904238

Edition: N/A

Authors: Donald A. Wittman

List price: $37.00
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Description:

This book refutes one of the cornerstone beliefs of economics and political science: that economic markets are more efficient than the processes and institutions of democratic government. Wittman first considers the characteristic of efficient markets--informed, rational participants competing for well-defined and easily transferred property rights--and explains how they operate in democratic politics. He then analyzes how specific political institutions are organized to operate efficiently. "Markets" such as the the Congress in the United States, bureaucracies, and pressure groups, he demonstrates, contribute to efficient political outcomes. He also provides a theory of institutional design to explain how these political "markets" arise. Finally, Wittman addresses the methodological shortcomings of analyses of political market failure, and offers his own suggestions for a more effective research strategy. Ultimately, he demonstrates that nearly all of the arguments claiming that economic markets are efficient apply equally well to democratic political markets; and, conversely, that economic models of political failure are not more valid than the analogous arguments for economic market failure.
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Book details

List price: $37.00
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 1/1/1997
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 230
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Market Metaphor
The Informed Voter
Electoral-Market Competition and the Control of Opportunistic Behavior
Transaction Costs and the Design of Government institutions
Homo Economicus versus Homo Psychologicus: Why Cognitive Psychology Does Not Explain Democratic Politics
Legislative Markets and Organization
Pressure Groups
Bureaucratic Markets: Why Government Bureaucracies Are Efficient and Not Too Large
The Market for Regulation
The Constitution as an Optimal Social Contract and the Role of Transaction Costs in Constitutional Design
Majority Rule and Preference Aggregation
The Distribution of Economic Wealth and Political Power
The Testing of Theory
Epilogue: The Burden of Proof
References
Author Index
Subject index