Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Public Choice Papers

My two papers for Public Choice. What a long strange trip it's been. We submitted the papers to the PC Society, but they just disappeared. At last check, after submitting the paper more than three weeks ago, they STILL have not been put up on the PCS web site. So, here they are:

William Keech, Michael Munger, and Carl Simon: Market Failure and Government Failure

Abstract: We distinguish two settings for market processes: The first is the "invisible hand" world of private goods, decreasing returns, and full information where general equilibrium and the fundamental theorems of welfare economics are well defined. The second is the "pin factory" world of increasing returns and creative destruction arising from innovation, technological change, and entrepreneurship. Then we note the differences in the application of "market failure" in these two settings. Building on the well-known "anatomy" of market failure in welfare economics, we develop an anatomy of government failure, confronting government with the more realistic and dynamic world of pin-factory type market processes. This anatomy distinguishes passive and active government failure, and it links market and government failure with the core functions of aggregation, incentives, and information, and with problems of agency, rent-seeking and time consistency.

John Aldrich, Michael Munger, and Jason Reifler: Institutions, Information, and Faction: An Experimental Test of Riker’s Federalism Thesis for Political Parties

Prepared for Special Issue of Public Choice, “Empirical Issues in Public Choice,” edited by Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard. In this thirtieth anniversary year of the publication of LAP, we are glad to take the opportunity to look back at some of the questions and insights that had shaped Prof. Riker’s interests in institutions. In particular, we will examine some of Riker’s earlier work on federalism, and the political bargaining that resulted in a federal system for the U.S. This bargain still has important implications today, especially for party organizations, which operate at the national, state, and local levels with goals that sometimes coincide and sometimes conflict. We then test a Rikerian thesis about an implication of the “federal bargain.” Having power shared by states and federal governments also means that party organizations are obliged to serve multiple masters with conflicting goals. To put it differently, federalism is a bargain between national and local interests. Any party system must likewise constantly negotiate conflicts between national and local interests. In a number of his early writings (Riker, 1955; Riker and Schaps, 1957; Riker, 1964), William Riker explored the stresses and cracks in partisan institutional structures. Focusing on the American system, and to a greater extent under the Constitution than under the Articles, Riker concluded that the decentralization of the party system effectively blocks presidents from being able to control partisans, using either ideology or organizational tools.

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