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Political realism and models of the state - Antonio de Viti de Marco and the origins of Public Choice

Michele Giuranno and Manuela Mosca

POLIS Working Papers from Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS

Abstract: It is well known that one of the features of Public Choice, political realism, in Italy is embedded in a time-honored tradition going back to Machiavelli, and perpetuated by G. Mosca and Pareto in their political and sociological writings. The scientific spirit, which in their era led to the foundation of various social disciplines, fostered the application of economic analysis to the political sphere. In this context the initiator of the pure theory of public finance, Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858-1943), formulated an economic model of the state, consisting of two types of constitutional extremes: the absolute state, and the democratic state. In this work, we ask how this model may be reconciled to G. Mosca and Pareto’s theory of the ruling class, which De Viti de Marco agreed with. Finally, we analyze the validity of this theoretical construction for the interpretation of collusion, rent seeking and "clientelism", i.e. the redistribution of extracted rent, which takes place in the form of discretionary allocation of public jobs, public contracts and other corporative favours. What emerges provides reasons to reflect upon for further developments in Public Choice.

Pages: 35 pages
Date: 2015-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hpe and nep-pol
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Journal Article: Political realism and models of the state: Antonio de Viti de Marco and the origins of public choice (2018) Downloads
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