Public Choice

, Volume 152, Issue 3–4, pp 313–321 | Cite as

The Calculus of Consent: some Swedish connections

  • Niclas BerggrenEmail author


As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Calculus of Consent (Buchanan and Tullock 1962; henceforth denoted CofC), I will dwell on some ways in which it relates to Sweden. At first, it may seem strange to connect a monumental work by two American scholars to a small country in northern Europe, but there are several noteworthy connections. Some date back to the 19th century, and constitute inspiration for CofC; some are of more recent origin, and are instances of research and reform advice having been inspired by CofC.

Inspiration from Sweden: the Wicksell connection

Knut Wicksell was a Professor of Economics at Lund University, with a reputation for being a contrarian. 1 In this, I would argue that he has a lot in common with the two authors of CofC.Among other things, he challenged the Swedish monarchy and the Lutheran state church. Buchanan also has an anti-establishment streak, notable in his dislike of authoritarianism, privileges, and the...


Nobel Lecture Working Committee Constitutional Reform Eminent Domain Royal Swedish Academy 
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I wish to thank Christian Bjørnskov, Dan Johansson and Daniel B. Klein for valuable comments and suggestions, Joakim Jansson for excellent research assistance and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation for financial support. The piece was written while I was an International Centre for Economic Research (ICER) fellow at the University of Economics in Prague, the support from which I gratefully acknowledge.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)StockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Institutional EconomicsUniversity of EconomicsPragueCzech Republic

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