Doing Liberal Political Economy: James M. Buchanan as Exemplar
James M. Buchanan: A Theorist of Political Economy and Social Philosophy, ed. Richard E. Wagner, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 10, 2018
We argue James M. Buchanan’s scholarship provides us an exemplary model for doing liberal political economy. Levy (2014) argues there are irreconcilable tensions within liberalism between rationalism and pluralism. Buchanan navigates these tensions in a way that powered one of the most important research programs in 20th century social science. Buchanan’s political economy contains both rationalist and pluralist elements, and it is this synthesis-without-solution that makes his political economy contributions perpetually relevant. We document Buchanan’s affinities for rationalism and pluralism, show how they informed specific portions of his research agenda, and describe how this agenda is being carried forward today.
Keywords: Constitutional political economy, James M. Buchanan, liberalism, pluralism, public choice, rationalism
JEL Classification: A11, B31, H11, P16
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