Publications [#345509] of Steven G. Medema

Chapters in Books

  1. Medema, SG, His influence in the Anglo-Saxon world, in Antonio de Viti de Marco: A Story Worth Remembering (January, 2016), pp. 115-118, ISBN 9781137534927
    (last updated on 2021/07/30)

    Q. What could you tell us about the influence of the Italian public finance school in general on the Anglo-American economic thought? What happened was that because so little of the Italian literature was translated into English, the diffusion of this literature into Anglo Saxon public finance was relatively slow. It was really De Viti who really brought this to the English-speaking crowd sooner, because his First Principles of Public Finance was translated into English in the Thirties. 1 When Buchanan was a graduate student he became exposed to De Viti’s First Principles and it stimulated him to learn Italian. Buchanan’s original interest was in Wicksell. Wicksell had done a great deal of work on the relationship between voting processes and government policy outcomes. 2 It was only after Buchanan had read Wicksell that he ran into some of this Italian literature, De Viti in particular, and when he did so he recognized the important communalities between these two streams of literature and decided that he needed to explore this Italian literature even further. What was really important for Buchanan about this early work was that it viewed politics as a process that operated according to the very same principles that the private sector market system operated. So the voting process was seen as a process basically equivalent to consumer purchases of goods and services, where voting functions in the same way that payment in the market place does; and just as voters are consumers of goods and services provided by the government, politicians are suppliers and the same with their companies, are suppliers, so politics here was simply modeled as a market exchange where you have the government sector supplying public services, individuals demanding public services, and you can model the political process as a market, just like the market for apples and oranges.