This paper is an assessment of Besley’s attempt to orchestrate a rapprochement between public choice theory and conventional public economics—with its characteristic normative orientation towards public policy. In this paper, I first try to set the Besley enterprise in the context of earlier work—focussing on my own work with Buchanan (The Power to Tax and The Reason of Rules). I then direct attention to three aspects of the Besley enterprise: whether selecting for competence depends on having solved the motivation problem (either by incentive or selection means), how selection mechanisms might be supported institutionally and the possibility that selection processes might create incentives at the ‘dispositional’ level.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 26, 2009
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