Competitive Governments, first published in 1996, explores in a systematic way the hypothesis that governments are internally competitive, that they are competitive in their relations with each other and in their relations with other institutions in society which, like them, supply consuming households with goods and services. Breton contends that competition not only serves to bring the political system to an equilibrium, but it also leads to a revelation of the households' true demand functions for publicly provided goods and services and to the molding of a link between the quantities and the qualities demanded and supplied and the tax prices paid for these goods and services. In the real world where information is costly, the links may not be first-best, but they will be efficient if competition is vigorous.
Preface; Part I. Compound Governments: 1. The conceptual framework; 2. Demand and its revelation; 3. Checks and balances; 4. Budgetary processes; 5. Consent, suffrage, and support; 6. Hierarchy and bureaucracy; Part II. Governmental Systems: 7. A retrospective overview; 8. The organization of governmental systems; 9. Competition, stability, and central governments; 10. The world order; Part III. Socio-Political Structures: 11. The size of the nonmarket sector; 12. The growth of governments; Conclusion; Appendices: A. Long-term budget deficits; B. The power of 'small' groups; C. The independence of judiciaries; D. Information and pressure; R. An empirical Wicksellian connection?; F. Overlap and duplication; G. Structure and stability of federal states; References; Name index; Subject index.