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09-10-2023

Complex externalities, pandemics, and public choice

Authors: Ilia Murtazashvili, Yang Zhou

Published in: Public Choice

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Abstract

The conventional wisdom guiding pandemic policy is that the complexity of externalities justifies a centralized government response and suppression of economic freedom. We argue that public choice offers a compelling argument that the opposite is the case: complex global public health crises justify polycentric responses and protection of economic freedom. We show this by considering three distinct themes in the public choice analysis of pandemics. The first theme is that government failures are ubiquitous during pandemics. The second is that polycentric governance institutions are more appropriate than monocentric ones to address pandemic externalities. The third is that while economic freedom may make controlling pandemics more challenging in the short run, in the longer run, economic freedom is what ultimately contributes to a more robust response to pandemics through technological innovation and wealth creation. Together, public choice provides what we call a liberal political economy of pandemics in which polycentricity and economic freedom are appropriate institutions to deal with complex, novel externalities.

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Metadata
Title
Complex externalities, pandemics, and public choice
Authors
Ilia Murtazashvili
Yang Zhou
Publication date
09-10-2023
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Public Choice
Print ISSN: 0048-5829
Electronic ISSN: 1573-7101
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-023-01104-6