Rev Austrian Econ (2009) 22:123–125 DOI 10.1007/s11138-009-0078-4 Best case, worst case, and the golden mean in political economy: An introduction to a symposium on Tim Besley’s principled agents? The political economy of good government Peter J. Boettke & Christopher J. Coyne Published online: 19 February 2009 US Government 2009 Tim Besley’s Principled Agents is a conceptually challenging work to both traditional welfare economics and the public choice approach identified with James M. Buchanan and Gordon Tullock. Besley’s argumentative strategy is to first admit the cogency of the public choice critique of market failure theory and traditional welfare economics and then to argue that the public choice critique goes too far in its pessimism. Instead, Besley argues that based on knowledge from public choice theory, institutional selection mechanisms can be designed in politics to select for both politician motivation and for politician competence. With such a mechanism in place, good government can result. Besley’s book has great strengths and is recommended to all modern students of political economy. One of the great strengths is Besley’s deep affinity for the work of James Buchanan in public finance and public choice. In this sense, Besley’s work is an immanent critique of public
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 19, 2009
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