Public-Choice Economics

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  • A branch of economics that is concerned with the scientific applications of economic modeling to political decision making. Nobel Laureate James Buchanan (1986) is credited with the discovery of the public-choice theory and its focus on the behaviors of stakeholders in the political process, such as party leaders, voters, lobbyists, politicians, administrators, and bureaucrats.

    In this approach, a “choice” is the particular act of selecting among different options; whereas “public” refers to people; that said, people (collectively) do not make choices. Individuals make choices, and their choices may be characterized as either “private” or “public.” An individual makes private decisions as he or she goes about his or her daily life; however, the individual makes “public choices” when he or she selects an option among the ...

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