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Social trust has been identified as a catalyst for reforms. We take the literature further in two ways. First, we analyze mechanisms through which social trust enables liberalizing reforms—by overcoming obstacles in the political process (stemming from ideology, ideological fractionalization, coalition government, minority government, and legislature‐seat instability). Second, we define reforms as distinct changes in… Read more »

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There is great variation in views on and treatment of minorities such as gay men across the world. We are the first to pinpoint what features of societies are beneficial to gay men’s quality of life by using a unique new cross-country dataset covering 110 countries, the Gay Happiness Index. It covers how gays perceive… Read more »

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Since good-looking politicians win more votes, a beauty advantage for politicians on the left or on the right is bound to have political consequences. We show that politicians on the right look more beautiful in Europe, the United States and Australia. Our explanation is that beautiful people earn more, which makes them less inclined to… Read more »

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How do human societies work, and how can we make them work better? What methods, ideas, and strategies should we use to help us answer these questions? Economists have more empirical tools—more data and more sophisticated ways of testing those data—than ever before. But unless those who employ these techniques also practice what the authors… Read more »

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Do markets generate a “just” wage? The answer to this question will depend upon the particular theory of the market that the political economist employs. When comparing actual labor markets with the neoclassical theory of competitive equilibrium as its normative benchmark, Joseph Heath (2018) argues that factor pricing is orthogonal to normative issues such as… Read more »

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Regulation by the state can benefit or harm any business in society. While the market provides for consumers rather than special interests, rationally acting interests will be incentivized to use political means to capture rents, particularly if public clamor for regulation exists. The formation of the Federal Trade Commission, rather than providing a check on… Read more »

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This article introduces Buchanan’s comment on Tiebout’s „A Pure Theory of Local Public Expenditures“. It helps us to understand the nature of the relationship between Buchanan and Tiebout. Usually, it is claimed that Buchanan modeled Tiebout’s insights, that there exists a Buchanan-Tiebout hypothesis, and that Buchanan in 1965 complemented what Tiebout had written in 1956…. Read more »

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This paper reviews the performance of the East German economy in the turbulent quarter-century following reunification and draws some conclusions for the reunification of North and South Korea. In this period, the gap in output per capita between East and West Germany declined at a speed not far from empirical estimates of the neoclassical growth… Read more »