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Chant Series

Political Theory And Public Choice

Political Theory And Public Choice

The Selected Essays of Anthony Downs Volume One

Anthony Downs

Anthony Downs, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, US

1998 192 pp Hardback 978 1 85898 733 0

Hardback £77.00 on-line price £69.30


‘Anthony Downs is one of the outstanding thinkers of our times. In an age and country where the title of intellectual has become almost a term of abuse, he has demonstrated the power of ideas in the world of practical affairs. His work focuses on problems, and cuts through disciplinary boundaries. It is informed by a concern to improve the human condition, and a commitment to rigorous analysis of how this can be achieved. The papers in this collection, from his classic work on the economic theory of democracy, to his writings on urban policy and property markets, provide a summary of forty years of a career that has decisively shaped they way in which we think about public affairs.’
– Michael Keating, University of Western Ontario, Canada.


Further information

This volume, together with a new original introduction, contains the most significant of Anthony Downs’s essays written over the past four decades on politics and political theory. The articles address issues such as democracy, public choice theory, rational political decision making and political policy. As such this will be an ideal companion to his famous book An Economic Theory of Democracy.

In this collection, Anthony Downs shows how a rational analyst can apply common sense and the lessons of practical experience to the most fundamental and difficult aspects of the political theory of democracy. Written in easily accessible language, Downs’ analysis of political behaviour in a democracy and specifically the public choice view is applied to many aspects of democratic politics including cycles of political attention to specific issues, and the long term evolution of democracy.

This book will prove invaluable to academics and students of politics, democracy, and public choice theory.

Full table of contents

Contents: Acknowledgements Introduction 1. An Economic Theory of Political Action in Democracy 2. Why the Government Budget is too Small in a Democracy 3. In Defense of Majority Voting 4. The Public Interest: Its Meaning in a Democracy 5. A Theory of Large Managerial Firms 6. Up and Down with Ecology – the “Issue-Attention Cycle” 7. Separating the Planning and Procurement of Public Services from their Production and Delivery 8. They Sell Sizzle, but Their Predictions Fizzle 9. The Evolution of Democracy

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