Market Failure, Government Failure, and Comparative Political Economy


This conference explored issues involved in market failure such as externalities, tragedy of the commons, public goods, and collective action problems, and responses to them.


From Liberty Fund

The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty

by By James M. Buchanan
Foreword by Geoffrey Brennan, Hartmut Kliemt, and Robert D. Tollison

The thirty-one papers presented in this volume offer scholars and general readers alike a comprehensive introduction to the work of one of the greatest economists of the modern era. Many of Buchanan’s most important essays are gathered in this inaugural volume of the twenty-volume series from Liberty Fund of his…

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Externalities and Public Expenditure Theory

by By James M. Buchanan
Foreword by Geoffrey Brennan

In his foreword, Geoffrey Brennan states, “The papers in this volume represent a coherent set of pieces focused on aspects of public-expenditure theory and constitute all of Buchanan’s papers in this area.”

Buchanan’s work on the subject of what governments should do and his insistence on Knut Wicksell’s ideal that…

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The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics

by Edited by David R. Henderson

In this easily accessible, user-friendly volume, respected economist David R. Henderson brings together 152 of the most brilliant minds in economics to show how the analysis of economic topics can illuminate many aspects of the average person’s daily life. The more than 160 entries cover numerous topics including basic concepts,…

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Additional Readings

Coase, R. H. “The Lighthouse in Economics.” Journal of Law and Economics 17, no. 2 (October 1974): 357-376.

Goldin, Kenneth D, “Equal Access vs. Selective Access: A Critique of Public Goods Theory” In The Theory of Market Failure: A Critical Examination, edited by Tyler Cowen, 69-92. Fairfax, Virginia: George Mason University Press, 1988.

Hardin, Garrett, “Tragedy of the Commons” In The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, edited by David R. Henderson, 497-499. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2008.

Hayek, F. A. “The Use of Knowledge in Society.” The American Economic Review 35, no. 4 (September 1945): 519-530.

Ostrom, Elinor. “Collective Action and the Evolution of Social Norms.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14, no. 3 (2000): 137-158.

Pennington, Mark, “Market failures ‘old’ and ‘new’: the challenge of neo-classical economics” In Robust Political Economy: Classical Liberalism and the Future of Public Policy, Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publications, 2011. 15-49.

Pigou, A. C. The Economics of Welfare. London: Macmillan, 1920.

Simmons, Randy T. Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure. Oakland: The Independent Institute, 2011.

Sowell, Thomas. Knowledge and Decisions. New York: Basic Books, 1996.

Stiglitz, Joseph. Whither Socialism? [The Wicksell Lectures, 1994]. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996.