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A Public Choice Approach. The Locke Institute Series
In this important new book, Gordon Tullock, a founding father of the public choice school, provides a formal analysis of the foundations of decision making. Voting procedures are crucial to Western democratic governments but are also employed in dictatorial governments, private clubs, corporations and religious organizations. This comprehensive book examines the many techniques of voting and the different outcomes in different situations.
Gordon Tullock's analysis begins by using a simple model in which individuals vote in terms of their own preferences. It is assumed that the voters are well informed, their preferences are reasonably firm and there are no trades or bargains made among voters. These assumptions are then relaxed in order to make the analysis more realistic. Special attention is given to Arrow's work and the idea that people do not always vote according to simple preferences. The author discusses the phenomenon of `throwing a vote away' or the possibility of an individual voting against their preference if offered something in return. After considering strategic voting, situations where voters engage in trades between one another and the lack of perfect information, Gordon Tullock examines a voter's options and the idea that individuals may rank options in degrees of their preferred outcomes. He also explores the possibility of preferences changing over time, why some issues are put up to vote and others are not, and situations where individuals voting with the same preferences, but in different voting systems, result in different outcomes.
On Voting expands present thinking in the Public Choice school and provides a forum for creating new paradigms in the school as well as changing the focus and scope of current studies. It encourages new research by suggesting areas where more work should be done. The book will be of special interest to political scientists as well as those interested in public policy and political economy.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
`Gordon Tullock has once again written an insightful and stimulating book. While political scientists who are not familiar with the public choice literature will find the book accessible, it can also be recommended to public choice scholars who are interested in suggestions for future research. . . . Gordon Tullock . . . has once again written a highly interesting book in an entertaining style. This book is a valuable addition to the impressive work done by one of the pioneers of public choice.' -- Patrick W. Schmitz, Constitutional Political Economy `On Voting is an extremely important contribution to public choice analysis, and in fact a contribution that was long overdue. While public choice analysis has for the most part focused on analyzing particular voting schemes, and Gordon Tullock has made very important contributions in this area as well, this book addresses the question lying behind such an analysis of particular voting structures. He is interested in looking at what it means if one decides a question by vote instead of taking the decision in some other way. He brings to this issue a lifetime of experience and thought in public choice analysis and arrives at many surprising insights.' -- Jurgen G. Backhaus, Maastricht University, the Netherlands