Peter J. Boettke, "Public Governance and the Classical-Liberal Perspective" (Oxford UP, 2019)


Today I spoke with Professor Peter J. Boettke, co-author of Public Governance and the Classical-Liberal Perspective (Oxford University Press, 2019) with Paul Dragos Aligica and Vlad Tarko.

Dr Boettke is University Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, at George Mason University, USA.

In our conversation we defined the disciplines of Public Choice and Public Administration and we named the key actors of a very long intellectual debate. We discussed the practical relevance (for policymakers and taxpayers) of this debate in economics and we also addressed contemporary issues such as the management of the Covid-19 crisis and the institutional architecture of police forces in the USA.

The book is divided into three parts: Part I: A Distinctive Perspective on Governance: The Building Blocks; Part II: Public Choice and Public Administration: The Confluence; Part III: Framing the Applied Level: Themes, Issue Areas, and Cases.

The book challenges some of the most ingrained views about an important intellectual tradition in political and administrative sciences thinking. It aims to demonstrate that there are alternative ways of defending democracy and liberal open societies in a theoretically sophisticated and feasible way.

Building on the political economy principles underpinning the works of diverse authors such as Friedrich Hayek, James Buchanan and Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, this book challenges the technocratic-epistocratic perspective in which social goals are defined by an aggregated social function and experts simply provide the means to attain them.

The authors argue that individualism, freedom of choice, and freedom of association have deep implications on how we design, manage and assess our public governance arrangements. The book examines the knowledge and incentive problems associated with bureaucratic public administration while contrasting it with democratic governance.

This is a sophisticated, timely and important contribution that many will find interesting: economists, political scientists and policymakers.

Andrea Bernardi is Senior Lecturer in Employment and Organization Studies at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. He holds a doctorate in Organization Theory from the University of Milan, Bicocca. He has held teaching and research positions in Italy, China and the UK. Among his research interests are the use of history in management studies, the co-operative sector, and Chinese co-operatives. His latest project is looking at health care in China. He is the co-convener of the EAEPE’s permanent track on Co-operative economy and collective ownership.

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