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

See all articles by Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: September 22, 2015

Abstract

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

Boettke, Peter J. and Leeson, Peter T., Introduction: 'The Economic Role of the State' (September 22, 2015). Peter J. Boettke and Peter T. Leeson, eds. The Economic Role of the State. Northhampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. xi-xxv, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2664244

Peter J. Boettke (Contact Author)

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Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.peterleeson.com

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/peter-leeson

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