Answering the public choice challenge: A neoprogressive research agenda

David Lowery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


A neoprogressive research agenda is developed to challenge public choice theory's position as the new orthodoxy in both understanding and guiding policy choices about urban service delivery. Such a challenge requires more than accumulating negative empirical tests. Rather, we must accept the new burden of proof laid on proponents of progressive reform institutions by the theories of nonmarket failure and quasimarkets, ideas that undermined the intellectual pillars supporting progressive reform institutions and can only be challenged by new ideas. Public choice theory itself, broadly considered, is proposed as a valid source of such new ideas. Three research programs, in part already underway, are outlined as essential building blocks in the research agenda, focusing, respectively, on blunting the rough edges of the theory of nonmarket failure, coordinating the empirical critiques of quasimarkets in a new theory of quasimarket failure, and developing the new institutionalism so that it can provide the basis for comparing the production outcomes of alternative urban institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-55
Number of pages27
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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