Liberty Discussion on ‘Public Choice Theory’

On 30th of March 2018, the members of Liberty Discussion Group sat down at Gaia Restaurant and Coffee Shop to discuss the article, ‘Public Choice theory’ by Jane S Shaw.

Jane S. Shaw is a senior associate at the Political Economy Research Center in Bozeman, Montana. She was formerly associate economics editor with “Business Week“.

In the article the author stretches about why people’s action in the market place are driven mainly by self-interest. He further affirms that the public choice economists make the same assumption which states that- market actors in a political setup have some concern for others nevertheless they are pushed ahead only because of self-interest. The author talks about the incentives faced such as government failure that is why government intervention doesn’t achieve the desired effect. There is lack of incentives for voters to monitor government effectively which also stands as one of the major underpinnings of public choice theory. However, the author manifests that this incentive is rare and ignorant in the private sector.

The discussants had a really interesting discussion among themselves. The discussion was forwarded along with the explanation of public choice theory through different branch of economics such as Conventional economics, Austrian economics where the thin line exists in between incentive and knowledge. They talked about how public choice theory is distinct from social choice theory. The discussion further enfolded key insights on collective decision making and its implications on market space. The discussion also sheathed on how lobbying with politicians has various implications on self- interest mechanism which helped the participants to agree on the notion of collective decision making. They further confronted counter arguments with different school of thought when the role of constitution is important in decision making was highlighted and thrown on the floor.

The participants also discussed how the South Asian bureaucracy structure is different from the western realm. They figured out that how bureaucrats who work on the verge of public occupy their own set of module to work besides self-interest mechanism. Overall, the participants also shared their valid statements on how on how public choice theory uses economic metrics to solve political issues. On the other hand, it was stretched that social choice theory is a branch of sociology where it collectively looks at how human beings live and interact collectively to bring collective actions.