Public choice theory

What is the public choice theory in public administration? Public choice theory is a product of the economics school of thought. This theory applies microeconomics to political and social areas in society. Introduced in the 1960s, together with NPM, it highlights issues of bureaucracy. It deals with institutional pluralism in the delivery of goods and services to the public.

Public choice theory Assumption

Public choice theory is based on the idea that public servants are motivated by the unselfishness of elected officials and technocrats. Further, public administrators are motivated by a desire to maximize social warfare. The theory introduces competition in the public sector to make it more efficient and effective. It upholds pluralism and rationality, meaning people have the capacity to think and rank the best alternatives. They’re able to choose what’s good for them through preferential choice.

Hence politicians and bureaucrats try to maximize their own gain. The state has its duties, therefore most activities that fall on the need of service delivery must be given out to public servants. Because public servants understand the needs of people and are able to deliver through public management. What motivates them is delivering results to the public in form of outputs. These can be policies, programs, services, and even laws that help people.

If the state has different roles it needs to play in society. All these duties and responsibilities go to the public sector. Better still build more infrastructure and institutions to carry out these responsibilities effectively. Public Choice theory in public Administration outlines that, pluralism promotes equal distribution of resources.

Effects of Public choice interest

Government can become very large according to Public Choice Theory in Public Administration. Large government machinery requires a huge expenditure and moreover, a tax burden on its citizens. Due to the introduction of competition, there is a compulsion, no freedom of choice, and innovation is emphasized. Large government machinery increases the power of bureaucracy. Administration becomes prioritized and threatens the democratic choices of citizens.

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