Best Case, Worst Case, and the Golden Mean in Political Economy: An Introduction to a Symposium on Tim Besley’s Principled Agents? The Political Economy of Good Government

3 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2010 Last revised: 26 Oct 2010

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 19, 2009

Abstract

Tim Besley’s Principled Agents is a conceptually challenging work to both traditional welfare economics and the public choice approach identified with James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock. Besley’s argumentative strategy is to first admit the cogency of the public choice critique of market failure theory and traditional welfare economics and then to argue that the public choice critique goes too far in its pessimism. Instead, Besley argues that based on knowledge from public choice theory, institutional selection mechanisms can be designed in politics to select for both politician motivation and for politician competence. With such a mechanism in place, good government can result.

Keywords: Political Economy, Pricipled Agents, Tim Besley

JEL Classification: B31, P16

Suggested Citation

Boettke, Peter J. and Coyne, Christopher J., Best Case, Worst Case, and the Golden Mean in Political Economy: An Introduction to a Symposium on Tim Besley’s Principled Agents? The Political Economy of Good Government (February 19, 2009). Review of Austrian Economics, Vol. 22, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1696092

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-1149 (Phone)
703-993-1133 (Fax)

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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