"Oppenheimer's book makes big claims about what we know about complex political phenomena, and backs those claims up with rigorous argument. Each chapter unfolds with unique insights in the form of 'propositions' on collective action, social choice, institutional design, and political leadership. This makes the book easily the most cogent and coherent account available of rational choice models and what they have to say about the political world we live in." - Gary Miller, Washington University in St. Louis
"Oppenheimer's Principles of Politics is intellectually incisive, and a practical book for anyone concerned with what government can - or should - do about the common good. Instead of grand apolitical claims about justice divorced from political institutions or amoral empirically precise analyses of political outcomes, Oppenheimer responds to Amartya Sen's calls to skip the trivial objections and begin eliminating intense injustice or unfairness. He overcomes Kenneth Arrow's claims that the common good cannot be agreed upon and John Rawl's assertions about what a just agreement should be. A timely, inspiring clarion call." - Samuel Popkin, University of California, San Diego
"I am often asked 'What is Political Science?' Oppenheimer has given me the broad outline to answer this question. Firmly rooted in the rational choice tradition (with a focus on both positive and normative political theories), this book is a clear and lucid discussion of the central problems tackled by political scientists and a wonderful overview of the state of the discipline's knowledge. The book takes stock of 61 propositions by political scientists, places those propositions in their logical and empirical context, and makes the case for their truth content. Even better, Oppenheimer points to areas that are fruitful for new work. Anyone, from a beginning student in political science to a wizened senior member of the discipline, can benefit from Oppenheimer's insights and conjectures." - Rick K. Wilson, Editor of the American Journal of Political Science, Rice University
This book presents the rational choice theories of collective action and social choice, applying them to problems of public policy and social justice. Joe Oppenheimer has crafted a basic survey of, and pedagogic guide to, the findings of public choice theory for political scientists. He describes the problems of collective action, institutional structures, regime change, and political leadership.