Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Public choice Theory
Public choice theory is a division of rational choice theory. Some authors do not distinguish between the two. Both import the methodology of economics to political science, and use formal, deductive modes of reasoning. Both assume that political agents are rational in the economist's conventional, thin definition of rationality. Those authors who view public choice theory as a distinct subset of rational choice do so because of its (actual or supposed) ideological bent toward a certain sort of libertarian conservatism, typified by the Chicago and Virginia Schools of economics. Social choice theory is analytically distinct from, but is often grouped with, public choice theory, and is therefore discussed in this entry. Rational choice is analytical and deductive. It applies the tools of economics, especially microeconomics and to a lesser extent welfare and macroeconomics, to the subject matter of political science. Microeconomics is concerned with the activities of rational economic agents ...