Political Realism and Models of the State Antonio De Viti De Marco and the Origins of Public Choice
POLIS Working Papers No. 232, ISSN: 2038-7296
35 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2016
Date Written: December 30, 2015
It is well known that one of the features of Public Choice, political realism, in Italy is embedded in a time-honored tradition going back to Machiavelli, and perpetuated by G. Mosca and Pareto in their political and sociological writings. The scientific spirit, which in their era led to the foundation of various social disciplines, fostered the application of economic analysis to the political sphere. In this context the initiator of the pure theory of public finance, Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858-1943), formulated an economic model of the state, consisting of two types of constitutional extremes: the absolute state, and the democratic state. In this work, we ask how this model may be reconciled to G. Mosca and Pareto’s theory of the ruling class, which De Viti de Marco agreed with. Finally, we analyze the validity of this theoretical construction for the interpretation of collusion, rent seeking and “clientelism”, i.e. the redistribution of extracted rent, which takes place in the form of discretionary allocation of public jobs, public contracts and other corporative favors. What emerges provides reasons to reflect upon for further developments in Public Choice.
Keywords: Democracy; collusion; rent seeking; clientelism; marginalism
JEL Classification: B100; B130; D720; D780; H110; H790
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation