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Understanding Democracy By Albert Breton (University of Toronto)

Understanding Democracy by Albert Breton (University of Toronto)

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In this collection, attention is given to basic issues about democracy that tend to be taken for granted and not seriously addressed. What should be expected or not expected from democracy? What are the conditions for democracy to be stable? What is the relationship between democracy and economic growth, income distribution, social policies, and the efficiency of public administration?

Understanding Democracy Summary

Understanding Democracy: Economic and Political Perspectives by Albert Breton (University of Toronto)

Democracy has moved to the centre of systemic reflections on political economy, gaining a position which used to be occupied by the debate about socialism and capitalism. Certitudes about democracy have been replaced by an awareness of the elusiveness and fluidity of democratic institutions and of the multiplicity of dimensions involved. This is a book which reflects this intellectual situation. It consists of a collection of essays by well-known economists and political scientists from both North America and Europe on the nature of democracy, on the conditions for democracy to be stable, and on the relationship between democracy and important economic issues such as the functioning of the market economy, economic growth, income distribution and social policies.

Understanding Democracy Reviews

"...a very good book, well informed by history, well written, and careful in its analysis. His evenhanded and thoroughly logical, full of examples and case studies drawn from both recent and ancient history....It is like reading Machiavelli, in terms of the pleasure one derives from the interaction of logic and history, but with diagrams and equations. Upper-division undergraduate and up." Choice
"The book makes interesting reading because each chapter offers a thought-provoking analysis of some specific feature of democratic government. ...this volume offers much insight into the analysis of democratice institutions. Each chapter is worthwhile by itself, and the volume as a whole demonstrates that public choice analysis could profitably be extended beyond its normal boundaries to an analysis of the interactions among political and economic institutions along with the democratic decision-maknig process." Randall G. Holcombe, Public Choice

Table of Contents

Introduction Albert Breton, Ginaluigi Galeotti, Pierre Salmon and Ronald Wintrobe; Part I. Democracy, the Market, and the Law: 1. Democratic stability as a self-enforcing equilibrium Barry R. Weingast; 2. Democracy, competition, and the principle of Isonomia: an economic analysis of the political exchange as an incomplete contract Michel Grillo; 3. Constitutional democracy: an interpretation Dennis Mueller; 4. Necessary and sufficient conditions for a viable democracy Peter Bernholz; Part II. Democracy and Economic Growth: 5. Government spending and economic growth under democracy and dictatorship Jose Antonio Cheibub and Adam Pzeworski; 6. Rent seeking and redistribution under democracy vs dictatorship Ronald Wintrobe; 7. Democractic governments, economic growth and income distribution Pierre Salmon; Part III. Democratic Deficiencies and Possible Improvements: 8. Democracy and the public machinery: the case of the headless leviathan Gianluigi Galeotti; 9. Democracy and empowerment Albert Breton and Margot Breton; 10. Political participation, voting and economic policy: three problems of modern democracies Luigi Campiglio; Part IV. Democratic Expectations: 11. Components of the democratic ideal Ian Shapiro; 12. Democracy on the margin Russell Hardin.

Additional information

Understanding Democracy: Economic and Political Perspectives by Albert Breton (University of Toronto)
Cambridge University Press
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