Table of Contents

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.

Chapter 27: Public choice theory

Lina Eriksson

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


The chapter covers the history and general outline of public choice theory, the most crucial aspect of which is the focus on incentive structures, and how these affect behavior and governance. The chapter critically discusses key public choice insights on collective action, centralization versus decentralization, public control over the bureaucracy, the effects of competition and the ideas behind and outcomes of New Public Management theory. It ends with a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of public choice theory, and some directions for future research.

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