Public Choice Economics uses economic tools and methods to analyze how politics and government work. The course questions how individuals make collective choices, why do we have a government, how do voters, politicians, and bureaucrats behave in the public sphere. It demonstrates that voters, politicians, and government officials respond the incentives they face. The course examines how these players’ actions, as responses to the incentives that they face, lead to political, economic, and social outcomes in the democratic political process. These outcomes vary depending upon the rule structures and constitutions within which politicians and bureaucrats operate. Therefore, these outcomes and structures are compared with one another and emphasis is placed on real world outcomes. The class covers topics such as difficulties of collective action by large groups, rent-seeking activities of interest groups (or concentrated groups), voters’ behavior under different voting systems, collective choice within government, effects of legislative structures on policy outcomes, behavior of bureaucracy, and regulation.

Skill Level: Beginner