Perspectives on Positive Political Economy

Front Cover
James E. Alt, Kenneth A. Shepsle
Cambridge University Press, Sep 28, 1990 - Business & Economics - 268 pages
This volume serves as an introduction to the new field of positive political economy and the various economic and political processes with which it is concerned. Grounded in the rational-actor methodology of microeconomics, positive political economy is devoted to the dual analysis of the role of economic behavior in political processes and of political behavior and constraints in economic exchange. The field has focused on three main subjects of study: models of collective action in industrialized democracies; the organization of markets and alternative mechanisms of exchange in the Third World; and the analysis of the role of transaction costs in the development and functioning of political and economic institutions. Developments in all of these areas are covered in the book. In the first part of the book, two chapters are devoted to explaining the evolution of the positive political economy approach; the first chapter focusing on microfoundations and the second on macrophenomena. In the second part of the book, three chapters demonstrate applications of the approach to the analysis of various forms of economic and political organizations. In the concluding section, four chapters discuss the research programs that have developed out of four different focuses of analysis: individual decision, exchange transactions, rent-seeking and indivisibilities.
 

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Contents

Editors introduction
1
The emerging discipline of political economy
9
Macropolitical economy in the field of development
31
Bargaining costs influence costs and the organization of economic activity
57
Corporate culture and economic theory
90
Amenity potential indivisibilities and political competition
144
Political science and rational choice
163
Institutions and a transactioncost theory of exchange
182
The costs of special privilege
195
Toward a unified view of economics and the other social sciences
212
Notes
233
References
245
Index
257
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