The political process focuses on the ways that people come together to engage in collective decision making in a variety of contexts. The central elements of the political process include: the formation of rules, the subsequent interactions that take place within those rules, and the evolution of rules over time.
Scholars working in the area of Virginia political economy—e.g., James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock—emphasize the importance of applying the tools of economics to non-market settings, including politics. Scholars in this tradition focus on both politics and economics to understand the formation of political rules—constitutional political economy—as well as the subsequent play within those rules—public choice. Scholars in the Bloomington School—most notably, Elinor and Vincent Ostrom—have emphasized three important aspects of the political process and political order. The first is the distinction between “rules in form” and “rules in use.” The rules in form refer to codified rules while the rules in use refer to the rules that people actually follow in their daily lives.
Together, these dynamics generate the political order. The chapters in this volume explore and engage the key thinkers and ideas of the Virginia and Bloomington schools of political economy. The diversity in topics and approaches will make the volume of interest to readers in a variety of fields, including economics, entrepreneurship, history, political science, and public policy.
Introduction, Donald J. Boudreaux, Christopher J. Coyne, Bobbi Herzberg
Part I – Interdisciplinary Foundations
1. A Smithian Critique of James M. Buchanan’s Constitutional Contractarianism, Malte Dold / 2. Towards a More “Tocquevillian” Social Science: Family, Gender, Loyalty and Virtue in Modern Democratic Associationalism, Sarah Jane Wilford / 3. Coping with Complexity: A Theory of Hayekian Interventionism, Alexander Schaefer / 4. The Entanglement of Public Bureaucratic Institutions: Their Interactions with Society, Culture, Politics, and the Economy, Jan P. Vogler / 5. The Conception of Taxation: The Romantic versus Realistic Point of View, Charles Delmotte
Part II – Interdisciplinary Applications
6. Warning Out, Settlement Laws, and Managing Poor-Relief CPRs in the Tocquevillian Township, Bob Kaminski / 7. Polycentricity and Transnational Environmental Governance: A Comparison of Literatures, James Heilman / 8. Dispute Avoidance through International Regulatory Cooperation: A Public Choice Approach, Inu Manak / 9. The Role of Experts and Intellectuals in Designing the Post-Conflict Iraqi Constitution, Jozef Andrew Kosc
About the Authors
"Interdisciplinarity" has become a noise, rather than an analytic concept. What a pleasure it is to see a real interdisciplinary effort, and on an important set of topics. Interdisciplinary work is when a scholar who has mastered an approach applies it in a new and interesting way. This book contains a number of genuinely important chapters, and all the chapters are worth reading. The reason the work is important is that no one approach can explain how institutions begin, survive, or change. But this one book shows these questions can be answered, and in ways that are interesting and fun to read.
The public choice tradition began two generations ago, set in motion by such scholars as James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, and Vincent Ostrom. While public choice has clearly ossified through maturation, these nine essays by freshly-minted scholars point the way toward a possible reinvigoration of public choice by incorporating new multidisciplinary insights into the study of a society’s political order.
Interdisciplinary Studies of the Political Order integrates important insights from the Austrian, Bloomington, and Virginia Political Economy schools of thought. The young scholars, whose work is collected in this volume, push our understanding of both the interrelated foundations of these schools of thought and how to apply the insights to a variety of contemporary issues.
Donald J. Boudreaux is a Senior Fellow with the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a Mercatus Center Board Member, and a professor of economics and former economics-department chairman at George Mason University.
Christopher J. Coyne is the F. A. Harper Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the Associate Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center.
Bobbi Herzberg is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the F. A. Hayek Program in Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.