What is Public Choice Theory?

The standard definition of Public Choice is that it’s the application of economic methods to the study of political processes. In this video, Professor Geoffrey Brennan explains what that means, giving insight into the origin of public choice theory, and why it’s such a powerful tool for examining public policy and political institutions.

Additional Readings and Videos

Here are recommended readings and additional videos that could be added to a syllabus or lesson plan on this topic.

Books and Articles

Anomaly, Jonathan; Geoffrey Brennan, Michael C. Munger, and Geoffrey Sayre-McCord. “Chapter 10: Public Choice.” Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: An Anthology

Buchanan, James. “Politics Without Romance” The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, vol. 1, The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty, 45–59. Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund.

Shugart, William. “Public Choice.” Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. https://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/PublicChoice.html

Gordon Tullock, Arthur Seldon, and Gordon Brady Government Failure: A Primer in Public Choice


Mercatus Center “An Introduction to Public Choice” https://youtu.be/4XsR82AUBIc 


EconTalk “Don Boudreaux on Public Choice” Mar 15 2010 https://www.econtalk.org/don-boudreaux-on-public-choice/