Efficiency, Legitimacy, and the Administrative State

This essay examines certain epistemic problems facing administrative states’ efforts to draft efficient regulations for their societies. Sam DeCanio argues that the absence of observable policy counterfactuals frustrates efforts to assess the efficiency of administrative states’ decisions, as it is impossible to determine whether different policies would have generated greater benefits at lower cost than the policy the state implemented.

Download paper

Latest Papers

Efficiency, Legitimacy, and the Administrative State

This essay examines certain epistemic problems facing administrative states’ efforts to draft efficient regulations for their societies. Sam DeCanio argues that the absence of observable policy counterfactuals frustrates efforts to assess the efficiency of administrative states’ decisions, as it is impossible to determine whether different policies would have generated greater benefits at lower cost than the policy the state implemented.

Foucault and Hayek on public health and the road to serfdom

This paper by Mark Pennington draws on the work of Michel Foucault and Friedrich Hayek to understand threats to personal and enterprise freedom, arising from public health governance.

Elinor’s Ostrom’s ‘realist orientation’: An investigation of the ontological commitments of her analysis of the possibility of self-governance

This article is the first to draw together systematically Ostrom’s reflections about ontological issues and to identify what Ostrom saw as their implications for the appropriate methods for analysing and explaining the possibility of self-governance. In doing so, the paper also contributes to the growing literature on ontology and the history of economic thought.

Browse All Papers

Local Energy Communities and Distributed Generation: Contrasting Perspectives, and Inevitable Policy Trade-Offs, beyond the Apparent Global Consensus

Read Here Local Energy Communities and Distributed Generation: Contrasting Perspectives, and Inevitable Policy Trade-Offs, beyond the Apparent Global Consensus Author: …

Beasts of Prey or Rational Animals? Private Governance in Brazil’s Jogo do Bicho

Read Here Beasts of Prey or Rational Animals? Private Governance in Brazil’s Jogo do Bicho Author: Danilo Freire Published in …

Ilia and Jennifer Murtazashvili: Wealth Destroying States

We use evidence from Afghanistan to illustrate how political instability and the absence of meaningful political constraints enables the predatory state. Foreign aid and foreign military intervention amplify the wealth-destroying features of political institutions.

Bart Wilson: The Meaning of Property in Things

What is property, and why does our species happen to have it? In this paper I explore how Homo sapiens acquires and cognizes the custom of property and why this might be relevant to understanding how property works in the 21st century.

Brian Kogelmann: Epistemic Polycentricity and the Theory of Public Entrepreneurship

Political theorists have recently shifted their focus from the normative properties of institutions to their epistemic ones. One popular thesis in the current literature is that democracy has desirable epistemic properties, at least when compared to other methods of social choice.

Sara Lowes: Matrilineal Kinship and Spousal Cooperation: Evidence from the Matrilineal Belt

I examine how matrilineal relative to patrilineal kinship systems affect spousal cooperation. In matrilineal kinship systems, lineage and inheritance are traced through women.

Dominic Parker and Bryan Leonard: Private Versus Government Ownership of Natural Resources: Evidence from the Bakken

Land ownership in the United States extends below ground, whereas most governments retain subsurface ownership. Which system generates greater resource use?

Barry Weingast, Gary Cox and Douglas North: The Violence Trap: A Political-Economic Approach to the Problems of Development

Why do developing countries fail to adopt the institutions and policies that promote development? Our answer is the violence trap. The trap is set by the unavoidable interdependence of economic and political development.

Liya Palagashvili: African Chiefs: Comparative Governance Under Colonial Rule

This paper analyzes how British colonial rule altered the club-like and competitive features of chiefdoms and weakened the incentives of political leaders to be accountable to citizens.

Anja Shortland: Closing the Gap: Assessing Responses to Terrorist-Related Kidnap-for-Ransom

Governments continue to be concerned about kidnapping as a source of terrorist finance. A host of international commitments, underpinned by UN Security Council Resolutions and domestic laws, forbids the commercial resolution of terrorist-related kidnappings and prevents governments from making concessions to terrorists.

Robin Douglass: Morality and Sociability in Commercial Society: Smith, Rousseau and Mandeville

In 1756 Adam Smith reviewed Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality and claimed that it was indebted to the second volume of Bernard Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees. While much recent scholarship has taken this as the point of departure for studying Smith's engagement with Rousseau, the place of Mandeville in shaping that engagement has been largely neglected.

Mark Pennington: Robust Political Economy and the Priority of Markets

This essay offers a “nonideal” case for giving institutional priority to markets and private contracting in the basic structure of society. It sets out a “robust political economy” framework to examine how different political economic regime types cope with frictions generated by the epistemic limitations of decision-makers and problems of incentive incompatibility.

Filter papers

  • No categories