The Democratic Efficiency Debate and Definitions of Political Equilibrium

The Democratic Efficiency Debate and Definitions of Political Equilibrium An ongoing debate has been occurring within public choice for over a decade concerning the efficiency of democracy. Virginia Political Economy holds that political markets perform very differently from traditional markets. Chicago Political Economy, exemplified by the work of Becker and Wittman, maintains that political equilibrium, properly defined, is relatively efficient. I argue that the debate can be understood at least partially in methodological terms: Chicago views politics exclusively within the equilibrium framework of traditional economics, while Virginia draws at least implicitly on Austrian economics' view of the economy as a disequilibrium process. I contend that the factors which public choice scholarship has identified as distinguishing politics from markets—rational ignorance, majority rule, collective outcomes—affect the performance of politics as a process even if political equilibrium is relatively efficient. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

The Democratic Efficiency Debate and Definitions of Political Equilibrium

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1015766621802
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

An ongoing debate has been occurring within public choice for over a decade concerning the efficiency of democracy. Virginia Political Economy holds that political markets perform very differently from traditional markets. Chicago Political Economy, exemplified by the work of Becker and Wittman, maintains that political equilibrium, properly defined, is relatively efficient. I argue that the debate can be understood at least partially in methodological terms: Chicago views politics exclusively within the equilibrium framework of traditional economics, while Virginia draws at least implicitly on Austrian economics' view of the economy as a disequilibrium process. I contend that the factors which public choice scholarship has identified as distinguishing politics from markets—rational ignorance, majority rule, collective outcomes—affect the performance of politics as a process even if political equilibrium is relatively efficient.

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 18, 2004

References

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