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Public Goods, Redistribution and Rent Seeking
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Public Goods, Redistribution and Rent Seeking

9781843766377 Edward Elgar Publishing
The late Gordon Tullock, formerly Professor of Law and Economics, George Mason University School of Law and Center for the Study of Public Choice, George Mason University, US
Publication Date: 2005 ISBN: 978 1 84376 637 7 Extent: 168 pp
Gordon Tullock, eminent political economist and one of the founders of public choice, offers this new and fascinating look at how governments and externalities are linked.

Economists frequently justify government as dealing with externalities, defined as benefits or costs that are generated as the result of an economic activity, but that do not accrue directly to those involved in the activity. In this original work, Gordon Tullock posits that government can also create externalities. In doing so, he looks at governmental activity that internalizes such externalities.

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Gordon Tullock, eminent political economist and one of the founders of public choice, offers this new and fascinating look at how governments and externalities are linked.

Economists frequently justify government as dealing with externalities, defined as benefits or costs that are generated as the result of an economic activity, but that do not accrue directly to those involved in the activity. In this original work, Gordon Tullock posits that government can also create externalities. In doing so, he looks at governmental activity that internalizes such externalities.

Monarchical governments originally introduced, for the benefit of the monarch rather than to eliminate externalities, many standard government activities such as road building, war, and internal policing. Most modern governments spend more money on redistribution than on more traditional government activities. This can be thought of as another effort to reduce externalities, since suffering in the community imposes externalities on the rest of us. Rent seeking, a relatively new field in economics and political science, is closely related to externalities and to the structure of government. An analysis of rent seeking, as well as some suggestions for improving government structure, cap off this fascinating treatise.

Economists and political scientists will find this lively and readable book both stimulating and provocative.
Critical Acclaim
‘The book features Professor Tullock’s normal array of insights and gems of wisdom throughout. The thesis of the book, to view government through the prism of externalities, is intriguing and makes the book well worth reading.’
– Daniel Sutter, Public Choice

‘The book can be commended for introducing a broad range of thought-provoking ideas in an accessible form. It is an easy read, but does not achieve (nor does it aspire to) the usual standards of academic rigour. It is in places retrospective and in others polemical. But all of it is entertaining.’
– Gareth Myles, Economica

‘The book offers a nice introduction into public choice but still has enough in it to keep more advanced scholars interested. Well worth reading for anyone with even a modicum of interest in economics and/or politics in the most non-partisan sense.’
– Phong Ngo, Economic Record

‘Tullock provides a readable account of public choice economics and the problems with collective decision making. . . Highly recommended.’
– M. Steckbeck, Choice
Contributors
Contents
Contents: Preface 1. Some Difficulties in the Existing Theory of Externalities 2. Coase and All That 3. More on Why Government? 4. The Poor 5. The Legacy of Bismarck 6. Some Biological Problems 7. The Rich 8. The Survey of the Existing System 9. Rent Seeking 10. War 11. Monarchies and Dictatorships 12. What, if Anything, Should We Do? References Index
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