Timothy Besley’s Principled Agents? carefully surveys the modern social science literature on political agency problems and tries to chart a sensible middle course between the naive assumption that politicians maximize the public welfare and the pessimism of Virginia-style public choice. However, the literature that Besley showcases is seriously flawed. By building on the empirically discredited rational expectations assumption, it neglects the strongest normative argument against political accountability and overlooks the extent to which “agency failures” stem from principal negligence.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 5, 2009
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