• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Public choice theory examines the decision-making behavior of voters, politicians, and government officials from the perspective of economic theory. It generally uses economic tools to analyze problems that political science traditionally treated. Invented in a democracy, it normally deals with democratic politics. Some of its basic assumptions come from economics.

For instance, scholars assume that individuals have preference functions and that they will take action to meet those preference functions. Most of these preferences deal with matters that will help the person who holds them. However, people are also interested in helping others and thus may have preferences for charitable acts or for the public good. In all these cases, they will take action to achieve their goals, although the action may be ineffective. More often ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles