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Self-Interest and Public Interest in Western Politics - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Self-Interest and Public Interest in Western Politics

Leif Lewin


Is it self‐interest or public interest that dominates in public life? Rational‐choice theory, political philosophy, and electoral research were all used to answer this question. Analysing existing literature, Professor Leif Lewin shows that predominant consensus emerged on this issue by the 1980s. This consensus states that people in politics are driven mostly by their self‐interest and not by common good and society values. Although Professor Lewin is not testing existing views that ‘egoism rules’ on deep theoretical grounds, he strongly argues that empirical facts do not support such views a ... More

Keywords: bureaucracy, electoral research, individuals’ rationality, political philosophy, politicians, public life, rational‐choice theory, self‐interest, social interests, Western democracies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1991 Print ISBN-13: 9780198277255
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/0198277253.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Leif Lewin, author
University of Uppsala
Author Webpage