This book raises and addresses questions about the consequences of democratic institutions for economic performance. Do institutions of accountability inside and outside government through periodic elections produce efficient results, or do they lead to the kind of accumulation of special privileges and protections from market competition that reduces efficiency and growth? Professor Keech suggests that there are modest and bearable costs of democratic procedures, comparable to the agency costs incurred whenever a principal delegates authority to an agent. Democracy, however, does not systematically cause inferior macroeconomic policy detrimental to a population's long-term welfare. Rather, there is a logical circularity among voter preferences, institutions, and economic and political outcomes. This accessible synthesis and sharp perspective on a large topical literature will be highly useful for professionals, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates aiming to understand the relationship between politics and economics.
"This book is highly accessible, and provides an excellent starting point for either economists interested in the relevant work in political science, or political scientists interested in the relevant work in economics. The analysis is both theoretically and empirically complete, with balanced presentations of the relevant material in both economics and political science. The bibliography provides an invaluable entre into the current literature." The Southern Economic Journal "The discussion of each topic is interesting and well balanced, and the conclusions are sensible." Journal of Economic Literature "Economic Politics should become the standard text on the U.S. political economy. Its appearance is very timely." Robert S. Erikson, University of Houston "...a clear and lucid exposition of all the important debates in political economy...a refreshing mix of theoretical and empirical material addressing significant normative questions." George Tsebelis, UCLA "...a masterful review and synthesis of a massive and often confused literature on one of the most important current topics of policy and politics...Keech's book should play a major role in systematizing current knowledge and in framing future debates." M. Stephen Weatherford, University of California, Santa Barbara "A deep lover of democracy analyzes its inevitable inefficiencies... a thrilling and useful endeavour as it helps us not to be frustrated by excessive expectations in democracy. Keech performs this task in a most competent way." Bruno S. Frey, Institute for Empirical Economic Research, University of Zurich "Keech's defense of democracy is ultimately all the more appealing because he sets out costs of democracy so fair-mindedly. Students of economic policy as well as democracy will profit from reading this book." Mancur Olson, University of Maryland at College Park "...provides a valuable and thoughtful introduction to the literature on political macroeconomics." Donald Wittman, Governance "...a valuable contribution...an accessible synthesis of a wide range of literature that raises and addresses many important questions about the economic consequences of political processes and institutions." Robert C. Lowry, Journal of Politics "I encourage faculty teaching macroeconomics at any level to incorporate Economic Politics: The Costs of Democracy into their course. And I encourage everyone with an interest in macroeconomic policy to read this book." Dennis Coates, Public Choice