Liberty Review

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Political Reinforcement: How Rising Inequality Curbs Manifested Welfare Generosity


How does rising inequality affect political parties? Do they adopt programs for more redistribution? In particular, do left parties act as the main guardians of the welfare state in times of increasing inequality? The conventional approach suggests that all political parties aim at more welfare spending as inequality rises, redistributing more income from the rich to the poor. This paper contests this view, suggesting, instead, that political parties, and in particular left parties, move right when inequality rises. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Politics

Against Elections: The Lottocratic Alternative

PHILOSOPHY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS 42.2 (2014): 137-178

It is widely accepted that electoral representative democracy is better—along a number of different normative dimensions—than any other alternative lawmaking political arrangement. It is not typically seen as much of a competition: it is also widely accepted that the only legitimate alternative to electoral representative democracy is some form of direct democracy, but direct democracy—we are told—would lead to bad policy. This article makes the case that there is a legitimate alternative system—one that uses lotteries, not elections, to select political officials— that would be better than electoral representative democracy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy, Political Theory, Politics

Moral Status and the Wrongness of Paternalism

SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE 40.3 (2014): 483-498

According to the dominant view among liberal philosophers, paternalism is wrong when it interferes with a person’s autonomy. Jonathan Quong has recently rejected this view in favor of a moral status-based account. Birks argues that we should reject Quong account. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy

Constitutional Rights and Education: An International Comparative Study


Abstract: We investigate whether the inclusion of social rights in political constitutions affects social performance. More specifically, we analyze whether including the right to education in the constitution has been related to better “educational outcomes.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Education, Law

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and Modern Liberal Democracy


Almost all proponents of virtue ethics tend to recognize the source of their approach in Aristotle, but relatively few of them confront the problem that source poses. How virtuous ethics ought to be related to politics in modern nation-states?  In liberal democracies, political authorities are not supposed to dictate or legislate the good of individuals; they are supposed merely to establish the conditions necessary for individuals to choose their own life paths. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Philosophy, Political Theory

Observing the Capitalist Peace: Examining Market-Mediated Signaling and Other Mechanisms

JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH 51.5 (2014): 619-633

Abstract: Countries with open capital markets tend to have fewer militarized disputes and wars. Gartzke, Li & Boehmer propose that this association arises from the enhanced ability of states with open capital markets to credibly signal resolve through the bearing of economic costs ex ante to militarized escalation. We test this causal mechanism by qualitatively examining six crucial cases in which the mechanism is most likely to be operative and observable. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, Politics

Summaries Archive

Recent Posts: Liberty Review Books

The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned—and Have Still to Learn—from the Financial Crisis. Martin Wolf. The Penguin Press HC. 2014

There have been many books that have sought to explain the causes and courses of the financial and economic crisis which began in 2007–8. The Shifts and the Shocks is not another detailed history of the crisis, but the most persuasive and complete account yet published of what the crisis should teach us about modern […]

Rethinking Housing Bubbles: The Role of Household and Bank Balance Sheets in Modeling Economic Cycles. Steven D. Gjerstad, Vernon L. Smith. Cambridge University Press. 2014

Balance sheet crises, in which the prices of widely held and highly leveraged assets collapse, pose distinctive economic challenges. An understanding of their causes and consequences is only recently developing, and there is no agreement on effective policy responses.

Liberalism in Empire: An Alternative History (Berkeley Series in British Studies). Andrew Stephen Sartori. University of California Press. 2014

While the need for a history of liberalism that goes beyond its conventional European limits is well recognized, the agrarian backwaters of the British Empire might seem an unlikely place to start. Yet specifically liberal preoccupations with property and freedom evolved as central to agrarian policy and politics in colonial Bengal. 

Recent Posts: Liberty Review América Latina

Sentimiento Moral y Razón: La Noción de Justicia en Adam Smith y Amartya Sen

AUGUSTO ALEÁN PICO CUADERNOS DE ECONOMÍA 33.63 (2014): 359-379 Amartya Sen plantea que su noción de justicia tiene como antecedente el pensamiento de Adam Smith. Sen usa de una manera particular los conceptos de la simpatía y del espectador imparcial para elaborar su noción de justicia. Más allá de la afirmación de Sen, estamos interesados […]

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