June 1, 2006

Robust Political Economy

  • Peter Leeson

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • J. Robert Subrick

    Associate Professor of Economics, James Madison University
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This paper introduces the idea of “robust political economy.” In the context of political economic systems, “robustness” refers to a political economic arrangement's ability to produce social welfare-enhancing outcomes in the face of deviations from ideal assumptions about individuals' motivations and information. Since standard assumptions about complete and perfect information, instantaneous market adjustment, perfect agent rationality, political actor benevolence, etc., rarely, if ever actually hold, a realistic picture and accurate assessment of the desirability of alternative political economic systems requires an analysis of alternative systems' robustness. The Mises-Hayek critique of socialism forms the foundation for investigations of robustness that relax ideal informational assumptions. The Buchanan-Tullock public choice approach complements this foundation in forming the basis for investigations of robustness that relax ideal motivational assumptions.

Read the paper at SpringerLink.