Introduction: 'The Economic Role of the State'
Peter J. Boettke and Peter T. Leeson, eds. The Economic Role of the State. Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. xi-xxv, 2015
15 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 22, 2015
We conceive of political economy, historical and contemporary, as reflecting sometimes competing and other times complementary assessments of the appropriate role of the state in economic life grounded in alternative approaches to the paradox of government. We call these differing approaches and the conclusions they generate "political-economic presumptions." Presumptions seems to us an appropriate term of categorization in that the different political-economic approaches they reflect are based in different evaluations of the costs and benefits of extending government’s reach into the economic domain, which in turn give rise to different “default” positions regarding the appropriate role of government. These default positions are presumed to be “correct” in any particular instance by those who hold them until and unless convincing arguments and evidence to the contrary are adduced by opponents, manifesting the clear desirability of deviating from the role ascribed to government by the default position in a given case. Alternative political-economic presumptions thus alternatively define upon whom the intellectual burden of proof should fall in debates regarding the expansion or contraction of government activity.
Keywords: political-economic presumption, economic role of the state, market failure, government failure
JEL Classification: B11; B20; B53; H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation