Rowman and Littlefield International

Interdisciplinary Studies of the Political Order

New Applications of Public Choice Theory

Edited by Donald J. Boudreaux, Christopher J. Coyne, Bobbi Herzberg

Publication date:

29 May 2019

Length of book:

300 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781786609809

The political process focuses on the ways that people come together to engage in collective decision making in a variety of contexts. The central elements of the political process include: the formation of rules, the subsequent interactions that take place within those rules, and the evolution of rules over time.

Scholars working in the area of Virginia political economy—e.g., James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock—emphasize the importance of applying the tools of economics to non-market settings, including politics. Scholars in this tradition focus on both politics and economics to understand the formation of political rules—constitutional political economy—as well as the subsequent play within those rules—public choice. Scholars in the Bloomington School—most notably, Elinor and Vincent Ostrom—have emphasized three important aspects of the political process and political order. The first is the distinction between “rules in form” and “rules in use.” The rules in form refer to codified rules while the rules in use refer to the rules that people actually follow in their daily lives.

Together, these dynamics generate the political order. The chapters in this volume explore and engage the key thinkers and ideas of the Virginia and Bloomington schools of political economy. The diversity in topics and approaches will make the volume of interest to readers in a variety of fields, including economics, entrepreneurship, history, political science, and public policy.
"Interdisciplinarity" has become a noise, rather than an analytic concept. What a pleasure it is to see a real interdisciplinary effort, and on an important set of topics. Interdisciplinary work is when a scholar who has mastered an approach applies it in a new and interesting way. This book contains a number of genuinely important chapters, and all the chapters are worth reading. The reason the work is important is that no one approach can explain how institutions begin, survive, or change. But this one book shows these questions can be answered, and in ways that are interesting and fun to read.