Private Desires, Political Action is an accessible overview of one of the most important approaches to the study of politics in the modern world - rational choice theory. Michael Laver does not set out to review this entire field, but rather to discuss how we might use rational choice theory to analyze the political competition that affects almost every aspect of our lives.
The broad-ranging scope of the book introduces the theory at many levels of analysis, including: the private desires of individuals; the social context of how people fulfil their desires; and the problems of collective action. The discussion of these problems extends into the arena of politics, where the activities of `political entrepreneurs' or politicians and the formation of political parties and coalitions are addressed.
Michael Laver is Professor and Head of the Department of Political Science, Trinity College, Dublin. He is the author of Playing Politics: The Nightmare Continues (1997); Making and Breaking Governments: Government Formation in Parliamentary Democracies (1996, with Kenneth A Shepsle) and Representative Government in Modern Europe (1995, with Michael Gallagher and Peter Mair).