James Gwartney laments that more economics textbooks don't treat Public Choice sufficiently.
I am nonetheless disappointed that public choice has exerted so little impact on mainstream economics. Rather than analyzing how both markets and collective decisionmaking handle economic problems, mainstream economics continues to model government as if it were an omniscient, benevolent social planner available to impose ideal solutions. The highly successful text of Greg Mankiw illustrates this point. Mankiw introduces his discussion of the role of government and the correction of market deficiencies in the following manner: To evaluate market outcomes, we introduce into our analysis a new, hypothetical character called the benevolent social planner. The benevolent social planner is an all-knowing, all-powerful, wellintentioned dictator. The planner wants to maximize the economic well-being of everyone in society.
(Professor Gwartney is co-author of an excellent text--now in its 15th edition--that very much does: Economics: Private and Public Choice. The principles text co-authored by John Taylor of Stanford also does a good job.)
I think if there was one thing I could change about current economics teaching, it would be to incorporate much more Public Choice at all levels, from principles on up. I'd have the students read, for example, pieces like "When the Basic Income Guarantee Meets the Political Process". And I'd invite them to understand exactly why there's been "Four Decades of Declining Trust in D.C."