Economic Politics in the United States: The Costs and Risks of Democracy

Economic Politics in the United States: The Costs and Risks of Democracy

by William R. Keech

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Employing macroeconomic performance as a lens to evaluate democratic institutions, the author uses models of political behavior that allow for opportunism on the part of public officials and shortsightedness on the part of voters to see if democratic institutions lead to inferior macroeconomic performance. We have learned more about how and why democracy can work well or badly in the years since the first edition was published. It was not previously apparent how much the good performance of democracy in the United States was contingent on informal rules and institutions of restraint that are not part of the definition of democracy. Since that first edition, the United States has experienced soaring indebtedness, unintended adverse consequences of housing policy, and massive problems in the financial system. Each of these was permitted or encouraged by the incentives of electoral politics and by limitations on government, the two essential features of democratic institutions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107460508
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/14/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

William Keech is Research Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at Duke University. Keech is the author of numerous books, including the first edition of Economic Politics in the United States (Cambridge University Press, 1995), and his articles have appeared in academic journals such as the American Political Science Review, Public Choice, and the American Economic Review. Most of his academic career has been at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Carnegie Mellon University. He has been president of the Southern Political Science Association and a member of the Council of the American Political Science Association. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. Macroeconomic politics and the costs and risks of democracy; 2. Macroeconomic theories and their political implications; Part II. Models of Macroeconomic Politics: 3. Models of accountability and opportunism: the electoral cycle; 4. Models of choice: partisanship; 5. Unintended consequences, moral hazard, and time consistency; Part III. The Sources and Authority of Macroeconomic Goals: 6. The authority of macroeconomic goals; 7. Voters, elections, accountability, and choice; Part IV. Institutions and Processes: 8. Rules, discretion, and accountability in the monetary policy process; 9. Rules, discretion, and accountability in the fiscal policy process; Part IV. Conclusion: 10. The costs and risks of democracy.

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