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Public Choice OnlineFirst articles


Leave them kids alone! National exams as a political tool

In this paper, we show how results in state administered university entrance standardized exams in Portugal are sensitive to the electoral cycle. Using individual data for all senior high school students taking national exams between the years …

João Pereira dos Santos, José Tavares, José Mesquita


Rent seeking for madness: the political economy of mental asylums in the United States, 1870 to 1910

From the end of the Civil War to the onset of the Great War, the United States experienced an unprecedented increase in commitment rates for mental asylums. Historians and sociologists often explain this increase by noting that public sentiment …

Vincent Geloso, Raymond J. March


A Talmudic constrained voting majority rule

Talmudic Law requires a minimal supermajority (13 out of 23) for conviction, but at the same time, provides that a unanimous conviction leads to a mistrial. We derive the necessary and sufficient conditions for sincere and strategic voting and …

Ronen Bar-El, Mordechai E. Schwarz


The effect of mass legalization on US state-level institutions: Evidence from the immigration reform and control act

A new case for immigration restrictions argues that migrants may transmit low productivity to their destination countries by importing low-quality economic institutions. Using the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) as a natural …

Lili Yao, J. Brandon Bolen, Claudia R. Williamson

01-04-2021 | Book Review

Ilya Somin, Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2020. 272 Pages. USD 29.95 (hardback)

Ilia Murtazashvili

31-03-2021 Open Access

The logical foundations of constitutional democracy between legal positivism and natural law theory

Rejecting all knowledge claims concerning right and wrong in matters practical James Buchanan concurred with legal positivism that invalid law cannot be identified by its substantive content but only by an inherited defect in its factual creation.

Hartmut Kliemt


Trust and the protection of property rights: evidence from global regions

In this study, we address the issue of whether trust enhances institutional quality. Despite accumulated research on the topic, comparative studies examining whether such a relationship holds across different regions are rare. Consequently, in …

Kee Hoon Chung, Hyeok Yong Kwon


Public choice and public health

Public choice scholars have attended only modestly to issues in public health. We expect that to change rapidly given the Covid-19 pandemic. The time therefore is ripe for taking stock of public-choice relevant scholarship that addresses issues in …

Peter T. Leeson, Henry A. Thompson


State fiscal constraint and local overrides: a regression discontinuity design estimation of the fiscal effects

Despite abundant evidence regarding the influence of US state-imposed tax and expenditure limitations on local governments, the causes and consequences of local overrides remain largely unexplored. This article comprehensively examines the fiscal …

Wenchi Wei

21-03-2021 | Book Review

Randall G. Holcombe: Coordination, cooperation, and control: the evolution of economic and political power

Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. xii + 328 Pages. USD 119.99 (hardback)
Michael Munger

21-03-2021 | Book Review Open Access

Ludger Schuknecht, Public spending and the role of the state: history, performance, risk and remedies

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2020. xix + 284 pp, USD29.99 (paperback).
Niklas Potrafke

21-03-2021 | Book Review

Andreas Thiel, William A. Blomquist, and Dustin E. Garrick (eds.): Governing Complexity: Analyzing and Applying Polycentricity

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2019, xviii + 295 pages, USD 110.00 (hardback)
Pablo Paniagua

21-03-2021 | Book Review

Kevin Vallier: Must politics be war? Restoring our trust in the open society. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2019, 243p, USD 90.00 (hardback)

Kevin Vallier: Trust in a polarized age. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2021. xi + 310pp, USD 34.95 (hardback)
Alan Hamlin


Approval and plurality voting with uncertainty: Info-gap analysis of robustness

Voting algorithms are used to choose candidates by an electorate. However, voter participation is variable and uncertain, and projections from polls or past elections are uncertain because voter preferences may change. Furthermore, electoral …

Yakov Ben-Haim


When do voters boycott elections with participation quorums?

With participation quorums present in elections and referendums, supporters of the status quo have to decide whether to vote against the proposition or boycott it by abstaining altogether to achieve the same result. This paper examines why one …

Karel Kouba, Michael Haman


James M. Buchanan on “the relatively absolute absolutes” and “truth judgments” in politics

Perhaps the most important element of James Buchanan’s contribution to constitutional economics is his differentiation between pre- and post-constitutional levels of decision-making. At first glance, a tension may appear between those two levels …

Peter J. Boettke, M. Scott King


Julian F. Müller: Political pluralism, disagreement and justice: the case for polycentric democracy, New York, NY: Routledge, 2019, 234 pp, USD 48.95 (paperback)

Paul Dragos Aligica


Informed voters and electoral outcomes: a natural experiment stemming from a fundamental information-technological shift

Do informed electorates choose better candidates? While that question is straightforward, its answer often is elusive. Typically, candidate-quality information is neither salient nor subject to exogenous change. We identify a natural experiment …

Shane Sanders, Joel Potter, Justin Ehrlich, Justin Perline, Christopher Boudreaux

06-02-2021 Open Access

The politics of bailouts: Estimating the causal effects of political connections on corporate bailouts during the 2008–2009 US financial crisis

In 2008, as the financial crisis unfolded in the United States, the banking industry elevated its lobbying and campaign spending activities. By the end of 2008, and during 2009, the biggest political spenders, on average, received the largest …

Vuk Vukovic

06-02-2021 Open Access

Militant constitutionalism: a promising concept to make constitutional backsliding less likely?

Constitutional democracy is in decline and many would-be autocrats try to transgress constitutional constraints. Here, we introduce the concept of militant constitutionalism, which suggests a number of constitutional rules that could make …

Jerg Gutmann, Stefan Voigt