Institutions and Collective Choice in Developing Countries: Applications of the Theory of Public Choice, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Institutions and Collective Choice in Developing Countries

Applications of the Theory of Public Choice, 1st Edition

By Mwangi S. Kimenyi, John Mukum Mbaku


426 pages

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First published in 1999, this volume is written by seasoned public choice scholars and is intended to make a significant contribution to the debate on peaceful coexistence and sustainable development in developing countries. The book contains a rich mixture of analytical ideas and views on collective choice and macroeconomic performance in developing countries. This book breaks new ground in that it is the first comprehensive application of the theory of public choice to collective decision making in developing societies. It provides both students of Third World studies and policy makers in developing societies an in-depth analysis for institutions for collective choice. For countries undergoing major reform of their political and economic institutions, public choice theory can provide significant and useful insights, and help these societies design and adopt institutional arrangements that enhance peaceful coexistence of groups, the creation of wealth and sustainable development. Specifically, the book successfully shows that: (1) the application of economic theory to the study of public policy in the developing countries can provide important insights into collective decision-making; (2) the application of public choice theory to the study of developing societies can significantly improve the efficiency of bureaucratic and governmental systems, and consequently, promote economic, political and social development; and (3) public choice can help developing societies design and sustain effective laws and institutions for peaceful coexistence of groups and achieve sustainable development.


’With the emerging interest in Africa and especially its economic potential, it is highly encouraging that modern developments in institutional analysis are being applied. Specifically, public choice theory, both in its positive and normative variants, has much to offer. Rent seeking is pervasive in the African political setting and recognition can prompt emphasis on constitutional reforms. Kimenyi and Mbaku opened up a discussion that will, I hope, encourage follow-up studies.’ James M. Buchanan, Center for Study of Public Choice, George Mason University, USA and 1986 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences ’Developing countries as well as public choice scholars will both benefit from Professors Kimenyi and Mbaku’s contribution.’ Professor Mark A. Zupan, University of Arizona, USA ’The book is a good exposition of the application of economic theory in the study of politics to developing economies.’ International Journal of Sustainable Development ’…insightful and intriguing…an excellent introduction to public choice economics…highly recommended for specialists in development economics…’ Public Choice ’No serious graduate student or research scholar should ignore the hypotheses presented in this informative book…’ International Journal on World Peace

Table of Contents

1. General Introduction. Mwangi S. Kimenyi and John Mukum Mbaku. 2. The Realm of Public Choice. Gordon Tullock. 3. Economic Freedom, Constitutional Structure, and Growth in Developing Countries. James D. Gwartney and Randall G. Holcombe. 4. The Economics of Insurgency. Wayne T. Brough and V. L Elliott. 5. The Political Party System and Economic Growth: The Case of Postwar Japan. Steven A. Meyer and Shigeto Naka. 6. Political Business Cycles: Theory, Evidence, and Extensions. Georgios E. Chortareas. 7. The Economics of Bureaucracy. Ronald M. Nate. 8. The Interest-Group Theory of Government in Developing Economy Perspective. William F. Shughart II. 9. Rent Seeking, Institutions, and Economic Growth. Mwangi S. Kimenyi and Robert D. Tollison. 10. Rent Seeking and Rent Extraction from the Perspective of Africa. Charles K. Rowley. 11. Governments and Monetary Policy. Pamela J. Brown. 12. Government Ownership and Privatization. Fred E. Foldvary. 13. A New Proposal for Federalism and Democracy in Developing Countries. John Mukum Mbaku. 15. Spatial Competition, Ethnicity, and the Optimal Size and Composition of Units of Collective Choice. Mwangi S. Kimenyi. 16. Economic Sanctions and Developing Countries: A Public Choice Perspective. William H. Kaempfer and Anton D. Lowenberg. 17. Conclusion and Recommendations for Further Investigation. John Mukum Mbaku and Mwangi S. Kimenyi.

About the Authors

MWANGI S. KIMENYI has been an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut since 1991. Between 1987-1991, he was Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Mississippi. He was born in Kenya and received his B.ED in chemistry from the University of Nairobi, MA in International Affairs and MA in Economics from Ohio University, and the Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University. He is Vice President and Chief Financial Controller of the African Educational Foundation for Public Policy and Market Process, Inc., and Managing Director of the African Institute for Public Policy and Market Process, Kenya. He is the author of Economics of Poverty, Discrimination and Public Policy (South-Western, 1995), Ethnic Diversity, Liberty and the State: The African Dilemma (Edward Elgar, 1998), He is the author of over 60 scholarly articles. His current research focuses on public choice and institutional reforms in developing countries. JOHN MUKUM MBAKU is Professor of Economics at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah and Associate Editor (Africa), Journal of Third World Studies. He is also President of the African Educational Foundation for Public Policy and Market Process, Inc. He was born in Cameroon and received the Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Georgia in 1985. He has previously taught at the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University. His present research interests are in public choice, constitutional political economy, trade integration, intergroup relations, and institutional reforms in Africa. During 1994-1995, he served as the President of the Association of Third World Studies, Inc. He has traveled to several developing countries to lecture on market reforms. He is the author of Institutions and Reform in Africa: The Public Choice Perspective (Praeger, 1997); editor of Corruption and the Crisis of Institutional Reforms in Africa (The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998), and co-editor (with Julius O. Ihonvbere) of Multiparty Democracy and Political Change: Constraints to Democratization in Africa (Ash- gate, 1998).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy