Cost And Choice

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While relatively short, Cost and Choice, according to Hartmut Kliemt in the foreword, “holds quite a central place in Buchanan’s work. For the fundamental economic notion of ‘cost’, or ‘opportunity cost’, is intimately related to the individualist and subjectivist perspective that is so essential to the Buchanan enterprise.”

To be sure, the Austrian school of economists enunciated similar views of cost decades before Buchanan, but Buchanan advances his theories by attempting to integrate his views into the orthodox classical and neoclassical framework.

When he published the book in 1969, Buchanan hoped that other scholars would follow him in researching the opportunity-cost concept and its applications. Unlike the theater of public policy, where Buchanan’s work is widely celebrated and influential, his important work on the issue of cost and choice, so clearly explicated in this volume, has done little to move the mainstream of economic thinking in the thirty years since its original publication. It is hoped that this new edition of Buchanan’s seminal work will place Buchanan’s groundbreaking ideas in wider circulation.

Buchanan writes in the preface, “My aim is to utilize the theory of opportunity cost to demonstrate basic methodological distinctions that are often overlooked and to show that a consistent usage of this theory clarifies important areas of disagreement on policy issues.”

James M. Buchanan is an eminent economist who won the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986 and is considered one of the greatest scholars of liberty in the twentieth century.

The entire series will include:

Volume 1: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty
Volume 2: Public Principles of Public Debt
Volume 3: The Calculus of Consent
Volume 4: Public Finance in Democratic Process
Volume 5: The Demand and Supply of Public Goods
Volume 6: Cost and Choice
Volume 7: The Limits of Liberty
Volume 8: Democracy in Deficit
Volume 9: The Power to Tax
Volume 10: The Reason of Rules
Volume 11: Politics by Principle, Not Interest
Volume 12: Economic Inquiry and Its Logic
Volume 13: Politics as Public Choice
Volume 14: Debt and Taxes
Volume 15: Externalities and Public Expenditure Theory
Volume 16: Choice, Contract, and Constitutions
Volume 17: Moral Science and Moral Order
Volume 18: Federalism, Liberty, and the Law
Volume 19: Ideas, Persons, and Events
Volume 20: Indexes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865972247
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1999
  • Series: The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 113
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xi Preface xiii Acknowledgments xvii 1. Cost in Economic Theory 3 Classical Economics 3
Marginal-Utility Economics 9
The Marshallian Synthesis 12
Frank Knight and American Neoclassical Paradigms 13 2. The Origins and Development of a London Tradition 17 Wicksteed and the Calculus of Choice 17
H. J. Davenport 18
Knight on Cost as Valuation 19
Robbins, 1934 19
Mises, Robbins, and Hayek on Calculation in a Socialist Economy 21
Hayek, Mises, and Subjectivist Economics 23
The Practical Relevance of Opportunity Cost: Coase, 1938 26
G. F. Thirlby and “The Ruler” 29
Mises' Human Action 33
The Death of a Tradition? 34
Appendix to Chapter 2: Shackle on Decision 35 3. Cost and Choice 37 The Predictive Science of Economics 37
Cost in the Predictive Theory 40
Cost in a Theory of Choice 41
Choice-Influencing and Choice-Influenced Cost 42
Opportunity Cost and Real Cost 43
The Subjectivity of Sunk Costs 45
Cost and Equilibrium 46 4. The Cost of Public Goods 49 The Theory of Tax Incidence 50
Costs and Fiscal Decision-Making: The Democratic Model 52
Costs and Decision-Making: The Authoritarian Model 55
Costs and Decision-Making: Mixed Models 55
The Choice Among Projects 57
The Costs of Debt-Financed Public Goods 59
Ricardo's Equivalence Theorem 61
Tax Capitalization 63 5. Private and Social Cost 65 Summary Analysis 65
A Closer Look 66
Internal Costs, Equilibrium, and Quasi-Rents 69
An Illustrative Example 70
Pigovian Economics and Christian Ethics 72
Narrow Self-Interest and Alternative-Opportunity Quasi-Rents 74
Conclusion 76 6. Cost Without Markets 77 Prices, Costs, and Market Equilibrium 77
Resource-Service Prices as Final-Product Costs 78
Market Equilibrium, Costs, and Quasi-Rents 80
The Cost of Military Manpower: An Example 81
The Cost of Crime: Another Example 84
Artificial Choice-Making 86
Socialist Calculation and Socialist Choice 87
Costs in Bureaucratic Choice 89 Author Index 93 Subject Index 95
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