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Advanced Introduction to Public Choice

Randall G. Holcombe, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics, Florida State University, US
Using public choice economic methods, this Advanced Introduction presents a focused narrative about political decision-making based on the work that has defined the discipline. Each chapter ends with a Notes section to discuss the research on which the chapter is based, with an emphasis on the pioneering work that has shaped the development of public choice. Randall G. Holcombe emphasizes the theoretical foundations of public choice, with the idea that it offers a context within which empirical research can be understood. This book successfully explores the political decision-making process for readers and ensures that they understand how preferences of citizens are aggregated to produce public policies.
Extent: 168 pp
Hardback Price: $99.95 Web: $89.95
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78536 204 0
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $27.95 Web: $22.36
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978 1 78536 206 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Public Choice Theory
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Public Choice
Elgar Advanced Introductions are stimulating and thoughtful introductions to major fields in the social sciences, business and law, expertly written by the world’s leading scholars.

This Advanced Introduction presents a focused narrative about political decision-making ba sed on the work that has defined public choice as a discipline. Randall G. Holcombe emphasizes the theoretical foundations of public choice, examining the way that voter preferences are aggregated through democratic decision-making, the way that political exchange leads to the production of public policy, and the way that the constitutional framework within which political activity takes place is designed. He provides a concise discussion of the main models of public choice in an engaging manner, giving readers a foundation for understanding the theoretical and empirical work in the field. Each chapter ends with a notes section that discusses the research on which the chapter is based, with an emphasis on the pioneering work that has shaped the development of public choice.

Undergraduate and graduate students in economics, political science and public administration will find this introduction to be an essential resource for understanding political decision making. Instructors in those fields will find this book to be a useful and affordable text and an indispensable resource for teaching public choice.
‘In this slim volume, Randall Holcombe takes the reader masterfully on an informative journey through the main regions of public choice theory. Among the topics this fine volume covers are voting theory, presidential vs. parliamentary systems, interest groups, bureaucracy, political entrepreneurship, and constitutional political economy. Someone who works through this book will be solidly prepared to venture into the higher reaches of public choice theory.’
– Richard E. Wagner, George Mason University, US

‘Robert Kennedy said that “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” This is a book for both kinds of people. Holcombe provides a hard-headed analysis of how government and politics actually works, and careful analysis of why the dreams for optimal outcomes, whether coming from the formal models of supposedly sophisticated economists, (based on “as if” assumptions that exclude politics), or those coming from idealist “reformers” (stemming from their utopian visions), end up shattered by harsh behavioral and institutional realities. Written in a completely non-technical fashion, and covering topics like rational ignorance, rent-seeking and regulatory capture, this book works beautifully either as a complement to traditional introductory economics courses, or to introductory courses in political science.’
– Bernard Grofman, University of California, Irvine, US

‘The author has extensive personal connections to all the aspects of public choice, and has produced a masterful volume. The insights of public choice are varied, but its explanatory power is consistent. Holcombe manages to weave together an interesting and informed commentary on the many strands of public choice scholarship in a way that will be useful even to experts, while providing an overview that a determined newcomer will be able to pick up immediately.’
– Michael Munger, Duke University, US

‘Overall, an Advanced Introduction to Public Choice fills an important gap in in the textbook market and has several key strengths. First, the content and style is accessible to a large audience. The book can be used in a range of college courses, and scholars and laypeople interested in the foundations of public choice will also find the book of value. Second, the book offers flexibility. The book can be read as a comprehensive whole, but each chapter also works as a standalone selection. Further, the book can be read by itself or can be paired with primary readings, with the volume providing the necessary foundation. Third, the book is affordable relative to the cost of most college textbooks, making it attractive for course adoption and general readership.
– Public Policy
Contents: Part I: Introduction 1. Public Choice and Public Policy Part II: Aggregating Voter Preferences 2. The Politics of Left and Right 3. Institutions: Proportional vs. Plurality; Parliamentary vs. Presidential 4. Political Strategy: Turnout and the Distribution of Preferences 5. Multidimensional Issue Space 6. Why Do People Vote? Rational Ignorance, Expressive Voting, Rational Irrationality Part III: Designing Public Policy 7. Transaction Costs and Political Exchange 8. Political Markets: Interest Groups, Rent-Seeking, and Regulatory Capture 9. Bureaucracy 10. Political Organization: Districts, Committees, and Institutional Design 11. Political Entrepreneurship Part IV: Constitutional Design 12. Constitutional and Post-Constitutional Decision-Making 13. Interest Groups and Constitutional Evolution 14. Checks and Balances: Elites and Masses Index