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Public Choice III
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  • 120 b/w illus. 75 tables
  • Page extent: 790 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 1.35 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521894753 | ISBN-10: 0521894751)

This book represents a considerable revision and expansion of Public Choice II (1989). Six new chapters have been added, and several chapters from the previous edition have been extensively revised. The discussion of empirical work in public choice has been greatly expanded. As in the previous editions, all of the major topics of public choice are covered. These include: why the state exists, voting rules, federalism, the theory of clubs, two-party and multiparty electoral systems, rent seeking, bureaucracy, interest groups, dictatorship, the size of government, voter participation, and political business cycles. Normative issues in public choice are also examined including a normative analysis of the simple majority rule, Bergson–Samuelson social welfare functions, the Arrow and Sen impossibility theorems, Rawls's social contract theory and the constitutional political economy of Buchanan and Tullock.

• Latest edition of one of top 10 selling titles on economics list • Contains 6 new chapters, others substantively revised • Covers all public choice literature, theory, and applied work, in economics and politics


1. Introduction; Part I. Origins of the State: 2. The reason for collective choice - allocative efficiency; 3. The reason for collective choice - redistribution; Part II. Public Choice in a Direct Democracy: 4. The choice of voting rule; 5. Majority rule - positive properties; 6. Majority rule - normative properties; 7. Simple alternatives to majority rule; 8. Complicated alternatives to majority rule; 9. Exit, voice and disloyalty; Part III. Public Choice in a Representative Democracy: 10. Federalism; 11. Two-party competition - deterministic voting; 12. Two-party competition - probabilistic voting; 13. Multiparty systems; 14. The paradox of voting; 15. Rent seeking; 16. Bureaucracy; 17. Legislatures and bureaucracies; 18. Dictatorship; Part IV. Applications and Testing: 19. Political competition and macroeconomic performance; 20. Interest groups, campaign contributions and lobbying; 21. The size of government; 22. Government size and economic performance; Part V. Normative public choice: 23. Social welfare functions; 24. The impossibility of a social ordering; 25. A just social contract; 26. The constitution as a utilitarian contract; 27. Liberal rights and social choices; Part VI. What Have We Learned?: 28. Has public choice contributed anything to the study of politics?; 29. Allocation, redistribution, and public choice.


'Like all the others, this volume will become the first point of reference - the 'bible' - for all scholars in the field, both the experts and the more casual samplers. It represents an amazing effort, even more extraordinary than the earlier versions. The profession is deeply in Mueller's debt.' Geoffrey Brennan, Australian National University

'This is a granddaddy of a book! Or rather a grand-son of one. For over a quarter of a century, Mueller has been providing us with successive surveys of the field of public choice, with each version more extensive, detailed and impressive than its predecessor. This is the third book in that series. And almost certainly the final one. No one could reasonably be expected to master the field in quite this masterful way ever again. The original 1979 book ran to almost three hundred spaciously typed pages. The 1989 successor extended to more than five hundred and was rather more densely spaced. The current version is over seven hundred, and includes almost seventy pages of references. Compiling such a survey - single-handedly - is a gargantuan effort, and has been accomplished here with amazing completeness and elegance.' Russell Hardin, Stanford University

'Dennis Mueller's book is certainly the most comprehensive and elegantly presented discourse on nearly a half century of research on public choice and ought to be required reading for any student of political science, if not social science generally. The material covered is virtually exhaustive of the field, and no one who wishes to understand this important subfield of social science should avoid consuming all that is offered here - offered in easily digestible and entertaining form while benefiting from the insights of one of the key contributors to the field.' Peter Ordeshook, California Institute of Technology

'As a teacher of public choice I have found Mueller's works invaluable. He is not only an original scholar but he succeeds in putting the existing knowledge into a form that makes it easy for students to follow. In addition to summarizing the existing knowledge, he always puts into them a number of new points with the results that teacher like myself finds a book interesting as a contribution to knowledge as well as a summary of previous knowledge. Public Choice III continues the tradition and will be invaluable as a text while the same time contributing to the knowledge of the teacher.' Gordon Tullock, George Mason University

'Mueller's Public Choice III is a colossal achievement. Anyone curious about what public choice scholars have to say about myriad subjects in political economy can find the answers here, but even members of the public choice fraternity will find much that is new and insightful in this compilation.' Morris P. Fiorina, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

'Dennis Mueller's Public Choice III is a wonderful preservation and extension of his earlier two volumes on the subject. It can truly be called a magnum opus. To anyone who thinks that the public choice revolution has lost the wind in its sails, read this book to see where we have been and where we are going. For others the book will be a priceless addition to their bookshelves and reading lists as a reference volume and textbook.' Robert D. Tollison, University of Mississippi

'Like its rightly acclaimed two predecessors, Public Choice III is an excellent survey of the field. I know of no other book on the subject that informs about the extensively grown public choice literature as comprehensively and competently as Dennis Mueller's updated and expanded treatise does. It is an indispensable reference source for anyone interested in modern political economy, accessible to newcomers as well as highly instructive to experts in the field.' Viktor Vanberg, University of Freiburg, Germany

'The book touches on almost every major area of public choice theory … I would strongly recommend the book to economists and political scientists who specialize in the rational choice approach to politics. It discusses and contains references to most of the major issues. Moreover, it does so in a way that is very intellectually stimulating. I cannot recommend it to these readers strongly enough … I would recommend Public Choice III to anyone who wants to find out more about public choice theory. It is the best and most extensive survey of the literature that I have read … Public Choice III is an excellent book and is strongly recommended.' International Journal of Social Economics

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