Revista de Economía Institucional
Print version ISSN 0124-5996
Recently a new approach to political economy has been consolidated. The political analysis of transaction costs is an attempt to solve some of the problems which arise in economic theories of public policy. This paper deals with the notions of transaction costs, institutional efficiency, governance structures and commitment value; and defines political interchange as political contracts. Political transactions have high transaction costs and the efficiency of the political market requires a democratic system with institutions that favour reasoned decisions and prevents democratic delegation from becoming abdication. This article surveys literature with a transaction cost perspective and shows that it has been very useful for the theoretical explanation of the role of political agents and the evolution of rules that guide their interaction. The main challenge is to provide empirical evidence to the theoretical proposals.
Keywords : economic models; public policies; transaction costs; rules; commitments.