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Public Choice OnlineFirst articles

Open Access 26-02-2024

Revolutionary leaders and the punishment of critics

I explore a previously neglected mechanism of mass mobilization in autocracies. Revolutionary leaders may deliberately provoke punishment from the incumbent regime to signal their political conviction and thus encourage citizens to identify with …

Christian J. Sander


Prevention externalities: private and public responses to the 1878 yellow fever epidemic

Standard economic theory suggests that government is a cheaper way to internalize prevention externalities than private entities. This paper argues that this view depends on unexamined assumptions about transaction costs and the costs of improving …

Byron Carson


Promotion prospects and policy choice: evidence from the land market in China

The career prospects of politicians are crucial determinants of their policy choices. This paper studies the impact of promotion incentives on policy choices by analyzing data on prefecture officials and local land market dynamics in China from …

Chang Xue, Xiaoyu Zhang


Assessing the effect of international terrorism on civil liberties using a potential outcomes framework

In this paper, we evaluate the effect of international terrorism on the civil liberties of the targeted states from 1972 through 2018, using a cross-country dataset. To deal with the problem of selection and control for the pre-attack dynamics, we …

Antonis Adam, Evi Tsavou

Open Access 21-02-2024

The political business cycle of tax reforms

A political business cycle (PBC), with governments adjusting and timing economic policy for electoral gains, has long been hypothesized. A lack of data has so far limited testing of this phenomenon for government policies as opposed to fiscal …

Lucia Rossel Flores, Martijn Huysmans, Joras Ferwerda

21-02-2024 | Editorial Notes

The political economy of criminal governance

How can people who do not rely on effective government institutions establish property rights, enforce agreements, and facilitate social and economic exchange? Scholars of public choice have long studied anarchic settings to understand …

David Skarbek

Open Access 15-02-2024 | Correction

Correction to: Failed secular revolutions: religious belief, competition, and extremism

Jean-Paul Carvalho, Jared Rubin, Michael Sacks

16-01-2024 | Editorial Notes

The political economy of American Indian policy: introduction to a special issue

Historically and currently, federal policies governing American Indian country do not typically resemble policies that economists think would stimulate economic and cultural prosperity. This special issue employs Public Choice and New …

Terry L. Anderson, Ilia Murtazashvili, Dominic P. Parker

13-01-2024 | Editorial Commentary

Size isn’t everything: COVID-19 and the role of government

The emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 quickly generated claims that the crisis had demonstrated the superiority of extensive welfare states and a failure of market economies. We conduct cross-sectional statistical analyses to test …

Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard


Externality as a coordination problem

Although externality is one of the basic concepts in economics, its rigorous definition remains elusive. This paper reconceptualizes externality as an instance of a broader phenomenon of incompatibility of plans—a situation where plans of …

Marek Hudik


On the tendency of revolutions to devour their own children

Genuine revolutions often use violence not only against their enemies but also against their friends. This paper argues that using violence against the proponents of a revolution functions as a way to boost collective action. A weakest-link …

Louis Rouanet

Open Access 28-11-2023 | Correction

Correction: Markets and knowledge commons: is there a difference between private and community governance of markets?

Erwin Dekker, Pavel Kuchař


Islamic revolution and Anfal

The Islamic revolution is nothing but Islamic revivalism or the establishment of an Islamic state based on Sharia. In this paper, I focus on the Islamic revolution in Iran that has been exceptionally considered as a ‘social revolution’ targeting …

Mehrdad Vahabi


Governing complex externalities: property rights for sharing radio spectrum

Radio spectrum has become central to technological progress and economic growth. While, command-and-control regulatory institutions of the early twentieth century were considered necessary to counter endemic market failure, recent regulatory …

Thomas W. Hazlett, Ali F. Palida, Martin B. H. Weiss


Institutional stickiness and Afghanistan’s unending revolution

Analysis of revolutions typically focuses on de jure constitutions and how their elite- or mass-led character influences their consequences. De facto constitutions are political and economic rules that people use to govern themselves which may or …

Tariq Basir, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili

Open Access 14-10-2023

Failed secular revolutions: religious belief, competition, and extremism

All advanced economies have undergone secular revolutions in which religious belief and institutions have been subordinated to secular forms of authority. There are, however, numerous examples of failed secular transitions. To understand these …

Jean-Paul Carvalho, Jared Rubin, Michael Sacks


Complex externalities, pandemics, and public choice

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 …

Ilia Murtazashvili, Yang Zhou

Open Access 22-09-2023

Markets and knowledge commons: Is there a difference between private and community governance of markets?

It is well-established that market governance can be provided by both public (state) and private organizations. However, the concept of private governance has been used, this article contends, to refer to two distinct forms of non-state …

Erwin Dekker, Pavel Kuchař


Intellectual property, complex externalities, and the knowledge commons

Intellectual property (IP) can internalize positive externalities associated with the creation and discovery of ideas, thereby increasing investment in efforts to create and discover ideas. However, IP law also causes negative externalities.

Nathan Goodman, Otto Lehto


A reservation economic freedom index

Several disciplines in social sciences have shown that institutions that promote cooperation facilitate mutually beneficial exchanges and generate prosperity. Drawing on these insights, this paper develops a Reservation Economic Freedom Index that …

T. Stratmann