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"Planning and the Political Market" argues that the enthusiasm for planning as an essential component of environmental protection is misplaced. Drawing on the experience of Britain and other Western democracies, the author uses public choice to explore the practical experience of land use planning as an example of government failure. The book opens by outlining the institutional focus of public choice theory, examining the central questions of market and government failure and the theoretical case for government intervention in the environment. Having explored the principal impact of planning the book goes on to analyze the institutional structures which have produced these policy outcomes. The analysis suggests that institutional incentives within the "political market" have frequently led to policies which favour special interest groups and public sector bureaucracy. The book concludes with an assessment of the potential for a private property rights, free market alternative to increase community involvement and access.
Mark Pennington is Lecturer in Public Policy at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.