Public Economy

Read this chapter as it explains public choice theory and how the rational voter conducts cost-benefit analyses of public issues. Be sure to click through to read sections 18.1 to 18.3.

5. Key Terms


the situation in which groups of legislators all agree to vote for a package of otherwise unrelated laws that they individually favor

median voter theory

theory that politicians will try to match policies to what pleases the median voter preferences

pork-barrel spending

spending that benefits mainly a single political district

rational ignorance

the theory that rational people will not vote if the costs of becoming informed and voting are too high or because they know their vote will not be decisive in the election

special interest groups

groups that are small in number relative to the nation, but well organized and thus exert a disproportionate effect on political outcomes

voting cycle

the situation in which a majority prefers A over B, B over C, and C over A