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The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock, #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The Calculus of Consent , the second volume of Liberty Fund’s The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock, is a reprint edition of the ground-breaking economic classic written by two of the world’s preeminent economists--Gordon Tullock and Nobel Laureate James M. Buchanan. This book is a unique blend of economics and political science that helped create significant new subfiel ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published January 31st 2010 by Liberty Fund Inc. (first published 1962)
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Hadrian
A detailed, intelligent attempt to combine elements of economics and political theory. Also won't shy away from the moral implications of political behavior.

Although the years after the 2008 crisis have been harsh on Buchanan, I have to give him credit for his work. But still I must insist that Buchanan's explanations on voting behavior and political responses are now largely unconvincing in lieu of recent history. His insistence that politicians can only ever attain power by promising increasi
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Jeff
Jan 10, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Calculus of Consent is one of the classic works in the public choice literature.

This work presents what has come to be the basic principles of public choice theory. Traditionally political scientists had defined the political process as a system in which decisions about public policy is viewed through the lens of a struggle between “public” and “private” interests. Instead, Buchanan and Tullock suggest that the “public interest” is simply an aggregation of private decision makers.

They conten
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Sean Rosenthal
Dec 25, 2013 Sean Rosenthal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Quotes:

"[I]t is especially surprising that the discussion about externality in the literature of welfare economics has been centered on the external costs expected to result from *private* action of individuals or firms. To our knowledge littler or nothing has been said about the *external* costs imposed on the individual by *collective* action. Yet the existence of such external costs is inherent in the operation of any collective decision-making rule other than that of unanimity. I
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Brenda
Feb 12, 2012 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-school
I really enjoyed Buchanan and Tullock's original (at the time) insight on public choice theory. They were among the founders of the theory and introduced the concept of government failure (as opposed to market failure). I tend to agree with their methodological individualism approach and their rejection of an organic, benevolent State (the idea that a benevolent government exists in and of itself in the pursuit of a "common good"). I agree with their assumption that governments are composed of i ...more
Matthew
May 21, 2016 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They didn't take their conclusions 100% of the way to the very end, but the analysis of different constitutional scenarios is second to none.
Nico
Jan 24, 2015 Nico rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very difficult read. Once they get through the introduction, the theory presented becomes very dense and hard to take in all at once. Read in small doses so that you have time to understand what is being said.
Aaron Crofut
I didn't pick a lot out of this book, but that's largely because I've read so many others that use this book as a foundation that there wasn't much new for me to pick. The basic assumptions made about how people act are sound, though; I would recommend understanding the methodology more than anything else out of this book. It leads to some counter intuitive conclusions, like the necessity of log rolling in political societies.

Can imagine a lot of people who could gain from this. Maybe if I had
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Scott
Apr 06, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably more a three and a half. The concept and the underlying theory of public choice are excellent. It's incredibly common-sensical and really frames the way you look at constitutional structures. However, in terms of presentation, it was a mix of the mathematical/economical and the philosophical, which sometimes made it less than clear. Overall, a good book, particularly for those interested in individual choice and the structure of government.
Craig Bolton
The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy (Ann Arbor Paperbacks) by James M. Buchanan (1962)
Fred R
Oct 02, 2009 Fred R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an interesting economics approach to the same problems that Rawls faced in "A Theory of Justice."
Doug
Feb 12, 2009 Doug rated it really liked it
An excellent piece by Gordon Tullock explaining how public choice is skewed by adverse incentives.
David
Mar 16, 2016 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: social-science
The content is great. Very dry, but you don't read books like this for the prose.
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