Politician

Politician

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A politician, political leader, or political figure (from Greek "polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

") is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. This includes people who hold decision-making positions in government, and people who seek those positions, whether by means of election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

, coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

, appointment, electoral fraud
Electoral fraud
Electoral fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates or both...

, conquest
Right of conquest
The right of conquest is the right of a conqueror to territory taken by force of arms. It was traditionally a principle of international law which has in modern times gradually given way until its proscription after the Second World War when the crime of war of aggression was first codified in the...

, right of inheritance
Inheritance
Inheritance is the practice of passing on property, titles, debts, rights and obligations upon the death of an individual. It has long played an important role in human societies...

 (see also: divine right
Divine Right
Divine Right may refer to:* The Divine right of kings, the doctrine that a monarch derives his or her power directly from God* Episcopal polity, the doctrine that is required in the church jure divino, i.e...

) or other means. Politics is not limited to governance
Governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

 through public office. Political offices may also be held in corporations, and other entities that are governed by self-defined political processes.

Considered a politician

  • A person who is politically active, especially in party politics
    Party Politics
    Party Politics is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the field of Political Science. The journal's editors are David M Farrell and Paul Webb...

    . A person holding or seeking political office whether elected
    Elected
    Elected is the latest EP by Dutch Progressive metal project Ayreon. It was released on April 25, 2008 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and on April 28 in the rest of Europe...

     or appointed, whether professionally or otherwise. Positions range from Homeowner associations and block watches
    Neighborhood watch
    A neighborhood watch or neighbourhood watch , also called a crime watch or neighborhood crime watch, is an organized group of citizens devoted to crime and vandalism prevention within a neighborhood...

     to executive
    Executive (government)
    Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

    , legislative and judicial offices of state and national governments
    Government
    Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

    . Some law enforcement officers, such as sheriffs, are considered to be politicians.

  • Politician can be a term used in a derogatory manner to belittle a statesman
    Statesman
    A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

    .

Public choice theory


Public choice theory
Public choice theory
In economics, public choice theory is the use of modern economic tools to study problems that traditionally are in the province of political science...

 involves the use of modern economic tools to study problems that are traditionally in the province of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. (A more general term is "political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

", an earlier name for "economics" that evokes its practical and theoretical origins but should not be mistaken for the Marxian use of the same term.)

In particular, it studies the behavior of voters, politicians, and government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 officials as (mostly) self-interested agents
Agent (economics)
In economics, an agent is an actor and decision maker in a model. Typically, every agent makes decisions by solving a well or ill defined optimization/choice problem. The term agent can also be seen as equivalent to player in game theory....

 and their interactions in the social system either as such or under alternative constitutional rules. These can be represented a number of ways, including standard constrained utility
Utility
In economics, utility is a measure of customer satisfaction, referring to the total satisfaction received by a consumer from consuming a good or service....

 maximization, game theory
Game theory
Game theory is a mathematical method for analyzing calculated circumstances, such as in games, where a person’s success is based upon the choices of others...

, or decision theory
Decision theory
Decision theory in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision...

. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis
Positive economics
Positive economics is the branch of economics that concerns the description and explanation of economic phenomena. It focuses on facts and cause-and-effect behavioral relationships and includes the development and testing of economics theories...

 ("what is") but is often used for normative
Normative economics
Normative economics is that part of economics that expresses value judgments about economic fairness or what the economy ought to be like or what goals of public policy ought to be....

 purposes ("what ought to be"), to identify a problem or suggest how a system could be improved by changes in constitutional rules. A key formulation of public choice theory is in terms of rational choice, the agent-based proportioning of scarce means to given ends. An overlapping formulation with a different focus is positive political theory
Positive political theory
Positive political theory or explanatory political theory is the study of politics using formal methods such as social choice theory, game theory, and statistical analysis. In particular, social choice theoretic methods are often used to describe and analyze the performance of rules or institutions...

. Another related field is social choice theory
Social choice theory
Social choice theory is a theoretical framework for measuring individual interests, values, or welfares as an aggregate towards collective decision. A non-theoretical example of a collective decision is passing a set of laws under a constitution. Social choice theory dates from Condorcet's...

.

There are also Austrian variants of public choice theory (suggested by Mises, Hayek
Friedrich Hayek
Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...

, Kirzner
Israel Kirzner
Israel Meir Kirzner is a leading economist in the Austrian School.-Early life:The son of a well-known rabbi and Talmudist, Kirzner was born in London, England and came to the United States via South Africa.-Education:After studying with the University of Cape Town, South Africa in 1947-48 and...

, Lopez
López
López is a common surname in the Spanish language . It was originally a patronymic, meaning Son of Lope, Lope itself being a Spanish given name deriving from Latin lupus, meaning wolf...

, and Boettke
Peter Boettke
Peter J. Boettke is an American economist of the Austrian School.-Early life and education:Boettke was born in Rahway, New Jersey to Fred and Elinor Boettke and remained there until he moved to Pennsylvania to attend Thiel College in Greenville and later Grove City College. He became interested in...

) in which it is assumed that bureaucrats and politicians are benevolent but have access to limited information.

See also

  • Mandate (politics)
    Mandate (politics)
    In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative.The concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of democracy...

  • Party platform
    Party platform
    A party platform, or platform sometimes also referred to as a manifesto, is a list of the actions which a political party, individual candidate, or other organization supports in order to appeal to the general public for the purpose of having said peoples' candidates voted into political office or...

  • Political party
    Political party
    A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

  • Political spectrum
    Political spectrum
    A political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions....


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