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

2nd Edition

  • Date Published: December 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107004146


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About the Authors
  • 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.

    • Builds on political economy models and supplements them with more generic problems of governance
    • Distinguishes formal democratic institutions, such as popular elections and separation of powers, from informal ones, such as patterns of fiscal or monetary policymaking
    • Thoroughly interdisciplinary, being informed by both democratic theory and by macroeconomic theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this important new edition, Bill Keech, one of the first political scientists to apply macroeconomic tools and research to political questions, revisits his prior inquiry on the 'health' of economic politics. But, in doing so, he also extends his discussion to incorporate many new findings in macro political economy. These additional results enhance our understanding of how and how well representative government performs. What is more, this book reflects the author's qualities: clear in exposition and sober in outlook. Very few social scientists have his scholarly breadth to engage the varied literatures from different disciplines - and even fewer could have written a contribution like this.' Jim Granato, University of Houston

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    Product details

    • Edition: 2nd Edition
    • Date Published: December 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107004146
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 8 tables
    • availability: Available
  • 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.

  • Author

    William R. Keech, Duke University, North Carolina
    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.

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