Perspectives on Positive Political Economy

Perspectives on Positive Political Economy

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This volume serves as an introduction to the field of positive political economy and the economic and political processes with which it is concerned. This new research tradition is distinct from both normative and historical approaches to political economy. Grounded in the rational-actor methodology of microeconomics, positive political economy is the study of rational decisions in a context of political and economic institutions. More analytical than traditional approaches, it is concerned with the derivation of principles and propositions against which real-world experience may be compared. Its focus is on empirical regularities, and its goal is theoretical explanation. The field has focused on three main areas of research: models of collective action, constraints on competitive market processes, and the analysis of transaction costs. Developments in all of these areas are covered in the book. The first part of the volume surveys the field, while the second part displays positive political economy at work, examining a variety of subjects. The final part contains essays by leading political economists on the theoretical foundations of the field.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139242792
  • 9781139242790

Review quote

"Unlike most edited volumes, this works as a collection. There are no clinkers, no weak contributors and no weak contributions....PPE is distinct from both political science and economics, not so much because those disciplines are unable to address the questions of interest, but because they have chosen not to." Michael C. Munger, The Southern Economic Journal "The book is a must for libraries and will find its way into many a scholar's personal library." Journal of Economic Literature
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Table of contents

Series editors' preface; Acknowledgements; Editors' introduction James E. Alt and Kenneth A. Shepsle; Part I. The New Political Economy: 1. The emerging discipline of political economy Peter C. Ordeshook; 2. Macropolitical economy in the field of development Robert H. Bates; Part II. Organizations, Transactions, and Opportunities: 3. Bargaining costs, influence costs, and the organization of economic activity Paul Milgrom and John Roberts; 4. Corporate culture and economic theory David M. Kreps; 5. Amenity potential, indivisibilities, and political competition Harold Demsetz; Part III. Reflections on Theoretical Foundations: 6. Political science and rational choice William H. Riker; 7. Institutions and a transaction-cost theory of exchange Douglas C. North; 8. The costs of special privilege Gordon Tullock; 9. Toward a unified view of economics and the other social sciences Mancur Olson; Notes; References; Index.
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