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Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Next page Slides to Accompany Economics: Public and Private Choice 9th ed. James Gwartney, Richard.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Next page Slides to Accompany Economics: Public and Private Choice 9th ed. James Gwartney, Richard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Next page Slides to Accompany Economics: Public and Private Choice 9th ed. James Gwartney, Richard Stroup, and Russell Sobel The Economics of Collective Decision Making Chapter 6

2 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Overview of Collective Decision Making

3 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. -- applies the tools of economics to the political process in order to provide insight concerning how the process works. Public Choice Analysis n Self-interested behavior is present in both market and political sectors. n Political process can be viewed as a complex exchange process involving: u voter-taxpayers u politicians u bureaucrats

4 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Public Choice Analysis: n The Voter-Consumer: u Voters will tend to support those candidates whom they believe will provide them the most government services and transfer benefits, net of personal costs. u Rational Ignorance Effect: -- Recognizing their vote is unlikely to be decisive, most voters have little incentive to obtain information on issues and alternative candidates. u Because of the rational ignorance effect, voters will be uninformed on many issues; such issues will not enter into their decision making process.

5 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Public Choice Analysis: n The Politician-Supplier: u Political officials are interested in winning elections. Just as profits are the lifeblood of the market entrepreneur, votes are the lifeblood of the politician. u Rationally uninformed voters often must be convinced to want a candidate. u Legislative bodies are something like a Board of Directors

6 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Public Choice Analysis: n Civil Servants (Government Bureaucrats) as Political Participants: u Bureaucrats (persons that handle day-to-day operations of government) seek promotions, job security, power, etc. u The interests of bureaucrats are often complementary with those of interest groups they serve. u Bureaucrats can usually expand their own interests, as well as that of their constituents, by working for larger budgets and program expansion.

7 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 2. When Voting Works Well

8 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Other things constant, legislators will have a strong incentive to support political actions that provide voters with large total benefits relative to costs. n If a government project is really productive, it will always be possible to allocate the projects cost so that all voters will gain. n When voters pay in proportion to benefits received, all voters will gain if the government action is productive (and all will lose if it is unproductive.) Under these circumstances, there is a harmony between good politics and economic efficiency. When Voting Works Well

9 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. Voter Adams Chan Green Lee Diaz Total T AX P AYMENT Benefits Received (1) $ $40 Plan A (2) $ $25 Plan B (3) $ $25.00 Consider the government program above. As with many such programs, individuals receive varying levels of benefits. If tax plan A is adopted to fund this program, it may be simple and seem fair, but even as Adams is getting a real deal (values the program at $20 and only pays $5) Green, Lee, and Diaz do not even receive the value of their taxes paid in benefits. When each voter pays in proportion to benefits received (tax plan B), each receives more in benefits than it costs them in taxes. If tax plan B is used, all voters gain and the program would pass unanimously. This example shows that harmony between good politics and economic efficiency can exist. Benefits Derived by Voters from Hypothetical Road Construction Project

10 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 2. Can government action be mutually advantageous to all citizens? Questions for Thought: 1. Do you think that people are motivated differently when they participate in the political process than when they participate in the private sector?

11 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 3. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

12 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Special Interest Effect u Special Interest Issue: One that generates substantial personal benefits for a small number of constituents while imposing a small individual cost on a large number of other voters. u Interest group members will feel strongly about an issue that provides them with substantial personal benefits. Such issues will dominate their political choices. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

13 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Special Interest Effect (cont.) u In contrast, the voters bearing the cost of special-interest legislation will often be uninformed on such an issue because it exerts only a small impact on their personal welfare and because they are unable to avoid the cost by becoming better informed. u Politicians have a strong incentive to favor special interest even if action is inefficient. u Logrolling and pork-barrel legislation strengthen the special interest effect. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

14 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. In total, A, B, and C voters come out ahead despite the costs involved in paying taxes for activities in other districts if they agree to vote together. In total, the sum of benefits for the group of all voters come out negative despite the positive benefits for district A, B, and C voters. The benefits to A, B, and C voters vary by project. Consider a composite bill in Congress that would build a post office in district A, dredge a harbor in B, and construct a military base in C. Vote Trading and Passing Counterproductive Legislation Construction of Post Office In A Dredging Harbor In B Voters of District * A B C D E Total Net Benefits (+) or Costs (-) To Each Voter in District +$10-$ $10-$ $10 -$ Construction of Military Base In C +$ $9 - -$ $6 Total * We assume the districts are of equal size. With this bill, there are no direct benefits to district D and E voters. In a majority rule voting system, the majority can pass counterproductive legislation benefiting themselves but creating negative net benefits for the whole.

15 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Shortsightedness Effect -- Issues that yield clearly defined current benefits at the expense of future costs that are difficult-to- identify. u Political process is biased toward the adoption of such proposals even when they are inefficient. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

16 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Rent Seeking -- Actions by individuals and interest groups designed to restructure public policy in a manner that will either directly or indirectly redistribute more income to themselves. u Widespread use of the taxing, spending, and regulatory powers of government that favor some at the expense of others will encourage rent seeking. u Rent seeking moves resources away from productive activities. The output of economies with substantial amounts of rent seeking will fall below their potential. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

17 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Lack of Incentive for Operational Efficiency u In the public sector, the absence of the profit motive reduces the incentive of producers to keep costs low. Neither is there a bankruptcy process capable of weeding out inefficient producers. u Public-sector managers are seldom in a position to gain personally from measures that reduce costs. u Because public officials and bureau managers spend other peoples money, they are likely to be less conscious of cost than they would be with their own resources. When Voting Conflicts with Economic Efficiency

18 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 4. Economics of the Transfer Society

19 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n There is nothing in positive economics that indicates one distribution of income is better than another. Economics of the Transfer Society n A large and growing part of government is devoted to transferring income.

20 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n There are three major reasons why large-scale redistribution will reduce the size of the economic pie: Economics of the Transfer Society u When taxes take a larger share of ones income, the individual reward derived from hard work and productive service is reduced. u As public policy redistributes a larger share of income, more resources will flow into wasteful rent seeking activities. u Higher taxes to finance income redistribution and an expansion in rent-seeking will induce taxpayers to focus less on income-producing activities, and more on actions to protect their income.

21 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 5. Public Sector Vs. Market Sector: A Summary

22 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 4 Factors that Weaken the Case for Market Allocation: n Lack of competition n External costs and benefits n Public goods n Poor information

23 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 4 Factors that Weaken the Case for Public Allocation: n The power of special interests n The shortsightedness effect n Rent seeking costs n Lack of signals and incentives to promote operational efficiency

24 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 6. Implications of Public Choice: Getting More From Government

25 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. n Both bad news and good news flow from public-choice analysis: u The bad news: For certain classes of economic activity, unconstrained democratic government will predictably be a source of economic waste and inefficiency. u The good news: Properly structured constitutional rules can improve the expected result from government. Implications of Public Choice: Getting More From Government

26 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. 1. Why are well organized special interest groups likely to exert a substantial influence on the size of government? Questions for Thought: 3. Evaluate the following view: Since government-operated firms do not have to make a profit, they can usually produce at a lower cost and charge a lower price than privately owned enterprises. 2. Does democratic decision making lead to economic efficiency? Is there sometimes a conflict between good economics and good politics?

27 Jump to first page Copyright (c) 2000 by Harcourt Inc. All rights reserved. End Chapter 6


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