Democracy, Freedom and Coercion


Democracy, Freedom and Coercion

A Law and Economics Approach

9781847201263 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Alain Marciano, Université de Montpellier 1, France and Jean-Michel Josselin, Professor, University of Rennes 1 and CREM-CNRS, France
Publication Date: 2007 ISBN: 978 1 84720 126 3 Extent: 296 pp
Democracy, Freedom and Coercion comprehensively covers both private and public law, both applied and theoretical issues, and will therefore be of great interest to students studying law and economics.

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The essence of democratic power lies in the capacity to protect individual freedom while organizing the necessary coercion associated with any form of government. Yet, as the authors of this book maintain, developing coercion in order to protect freedom, and containing coercion in order to further protect freedom, is an arduous task, and one that faces any democratic Leviathan.

The aim of this book is to explore this paradox and to analyse the intricate balance of freedom and coercion in developing states. In so doing it considers the legal and institutional conditions under which coercion and violence are admitted and/or permitted, and how these conditions should be organized in order to preserve and develop freedom as far as possible.

Democracy, Freedom and Coercion comprehensively covers both private and public law, both applied and theoretical issues, and will therefore be of great interest to students studying law and economics. It will also serve as a reference tool to those academics in the field of legal competition, especially from the perspective of European issues.
Critical Acclaim
‘Democracy, Freedom and Coercion is a welcome addition to the public choice literature. It steps outside of the often used contractarian perspective and recognizes that all governments are ultimately based on coercion. . . the volume’s chapters make important contributions that should be of interest to public choice scholars engaged in this research program.’
– Benjamin Powell, Public Choice

‘The big picture here is the tension between coercion and freedom within democracy. Each essay offers a view of this big picture through a different lens: empirical, theoretical, comparative, etc.; and also offers a different focus: on the conceptualisation and measurement of power, the legitimacy of economic democracy, the identification of the developing pattern of democracy, the impact of political violence etc. But the essays combine well so that together they illuminate the big picture from a variety of perspectives. Thought provoking and challenging – an excellent read for anyone interested in the more detailed analysis of the issues that make up the big picture.’
– Alan Hamlin, University of Manchester, UK

‘So much of the academic analysis of democracy focuses on agreement and ignores the fact that all government action ultimately is backed by coercion. This volume offers a thoughtful examination of the
inherent tensions between liberty and coercion that are an inevitable
part of democratic government.’
– Randall G. Holcombe, Florida State University, US

‘States need to be strong in order to enforce private property rights; yet, this very strength can cause problems as representatives of the state can misuse it for their individual goals. This “dilemma of the strong state” has been occupying political philosophers for centuries. In this volume, to which economists but also political scientists have contributed, a number of new and unexpected variations on the topic are explored. This makes the volume an exciting read.’
– Stefan Voigt, University of Hamburg, Germany

‘The contribution covers the niche between law and economics and the
political theory of the state and its constitution. Now we can integrate
traditional political theory into our doctoral seminars in law and
economics a long overdue step ahead.’
– Jürgen G. Backhaus, Erfurt University, Germany
Contributors: C. Barrère, G. Brosio, A. Cepparulo, E. Colombatto, A. Dimitrova, L. Dudley, G. Eusepi, L.P. Feld, M.J. Holler, L.M. Imbeau, J.-M. Josselin, A. Marciano, M. Paldam, J. Schnellenbach, B. Steunenberg, D. Wittman, R. Zanola

Jean-Michel Josselin and Alain Marciano


1. Variations on the Lupus et Agnus Story: In Search of the Homo Sapiens
Giuseppe Euseppi and Alessandra Cepparulo

2. Freedom of Choice, Power, and the Responsibility of Decision Makers
Manfred J. Holler

3. Hayek and Economic Policy (The Austrian Road to the Third Way)
Enrico Colombatto

4. Defining Economic Democracy: A Challenge. An Institutionalist Framework
Christian Barrère

5. The Big Pattern of Democracy: A Study of the Gastil Index
Martin Paldam

6. Violence and its Impact on Democracy in Colombia
Giorgio Brosio and Roberto Zanola

7. Language as Platform: A Theory of Subsidiarity and the Nation State
Leonard Dudley

8. Leviathan or Geryon? Power Abuse in Democratic Societies
Louis M. Imbeau

9. Political Institutions and Political Innovations: Theoretical Thoughts and Evidence on Labor Market Regulation
Lars P. Feld and Jan Schnellenbach

10. Compliance in the EU Enlargement Process: Institutional Reform and the Limits of Conditionality
Bernard Steunenberg and Antoaneta Dimitrova

Conclusion: Hobbes and the Political Economy of Power
Donald Wittman

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