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Robust Against Whom?

Nick Cowen

A chapter in Austrian Economics: The Next Generation, 2018, vol. 23, pp 91-111 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract Robust political economy (RPE) is a research program that combines insights from Austrian economics and public choice to evaluate the performance of institutions in cases of limited knowledge and limited altruism, or “worst-case scenarios.” Many critics of RPE argue that it is too narrowly focused on the bad motivations and inadequacies of social actors while smuggling in classical liberal normative commitments as part of a purported solution to these problems. This chapter takes a different tack by highlighting the ways that RPE as currently understood may not be robust against particularly bad conduct. It suggests that depending on the parameters of what constitutes a worst-case scenario, classical liberal institutions, especially a minimal state, may turn out to be less robust than some conservative or social democratic alternatives.

Keywords: Robust political economy; public choice; tuism; altruism; perverse preferences; minimal state (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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