Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

Living Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Public Interest

  • Michael Hantke-Domas
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7883-6_394-1

Abstract

The public interest is a concept that can be traced back to the late XVIII century. Ever since the concept has been used to refer to a goal to be obtained by actions of governments and public officials alike. Such view has been strongly contested by important economic schools such as Public Choice and the Chicago School of Regulation. Based on neoclassical economics, they contend the altruism needed to deliver in the public interest, as public officials pursue their own interest and regulations are captured to benefit regulated industries but recognizes the existence of equilibria that might balance the interests at stake (like Pareto or Kaldor-Hicks criteria). In contrast, the law is more optimistic when using public interest either to proceduralize collective interest or for courts adjudication. Even more, public interest serves as justification for government intervention in economic affairs. In the last decades, the promotion of integrity and prevention of corruption have tackled self-interest of public officials, leaving space for the public interest to be pursued by governments and public officials.

Keywords

Public Choice Public Interest Economic Regulation Public Official Market Failure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Notes

Acknowledgment

The author would like to acknowledge the helpful research assistance of Ms Francisca Henriquez Prieto.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Water Law, Policy and ScienceUniversity of DundeeScotlandUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Third Environment CourtValdiviaChile