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Public Choice Economics

Public choice economics is the application of economic principles to the study of collective decision making in politics and government. It developed, in part, as a challenge to classic economic theories that assume government impartially serves the collective interest through policies guided by economic models. Instead, public choice economics recognizes that the government decisions are influenced by individuals—including voters, politicians, and bureaucrats—pursuing their own self-interest and the rules by which those interests are aggregated into a collective choice. This recognition has helped inform the understanding of government decision making and how those decisions can diverge from the predictions of classic economic theories.

This entry provides an overview of public choice economics and its application to education. It begins by clarifying the role of government from ...

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