Public Administration, Public Choice and the Ostroms: The Achievement, the Failure, the Promise
50th Anniversary Conference of the Public Choice Society, Plenary Session dedicated to the Bloomington School of Political Economy, New Orleans, March 7-9, 2013
25 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013
Date Written: 2013
It may be the case that the current incapacity of the Public Choice program to effectively move to the policy and applied stage may have something to do with the way the domain of public administration is perceived (or misperceived) and approached (or sidestepped). This paper is an attempt to deal with some of the challenges emerging from this observation and it has several main objectives: First, to briefly outline the nature of Public Administration as a field, with a view to better understand its inherent link with Public Choice and why in order to gain policy relevance, Public Choice needs to systematically engage it. Clarifying this point will give an enhanced sense of the meaning and context of the Ostroms’ work in this respect: An attempt to promote the Public Choice perspective in Public Administration, and the Public Administration perspective in Public Choice. Second, to take a closer look at the nature, significance and reception of Ostroms’ work in the field of Public Administration and to substantiate the claim that the Ostroms were the main advocates of Public Choice in Public Administration studies and that they were recognized as such by the field. The evidence is overwhelming and the fact that this essential side of their contribution seems to be largely neglected today requires some explanation. Third, to take note of the reception of the Ostroms’ Public Administration perspective in the context of Public Choice - or more precisely, of the fiasco of that. Last but not least, to look at what could be said about the limits of the standard Public Choice approach, when seen from the viewpoint of the Ostroms and what the insights gained that way may mean to us today.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation