The Notre Dame Public Choice Theory Symposium

Welcome to the UNDA Public Choice Theory Symposium 2021: An Audit of Australian Institutions

Due to uncertainty regarding the ongoing COVID restrictions on interstate travel the Public Choice Theory Symposium will be postponed indefinitely.

The UNDA Public Choice Theory Symposium is an annual one-day gathering devoted to exploring topics in the sub-discipline of economics known as Public Choice Theory. Some of the topics considered include rent seeking, regulatory capture, pressure-group activity, constitutional design, voting paradoxes and the economics of bureaucracies. The symposium is designed for undergraduate, honours and postgraduate students, but all parties who are interested in contemplating “politics without the romance” are welcome. It is non-partisan in nature, and a critical and contrary tone is encouraged, if not celebrated.

The UNDA Public Choice Symposium in 2021 is specifically devoted to an audit of those Australian institutions that are distinctive to Australia. The way Australia “does democracy” is in its own way as unique as our fauna and flora. Some of these distinctive features – like compulsory voting and preferential voting – are not strictly unique, but they are very unusual among comparable democracies. And they do make a difference to how the Australian political system works compared with the US, the UK and other allied systems that are usually taken as our benchmarks. Another distinctive feature is the way Australian policy formation processes rely on “Commissions” of various kinds – occasional ones like the various Royal Commissions, or standing institutions like the ACCC or the Productivity Commission or the Electoral Commission. How does the assignment of policy determination to such quasi-judicial institutions affect the way policy is made in Australia? More generally, how can public choice analysis, designed as it originally was to assist in institutional design and reform issues, help us to understand the role such institutions play and the effects they are likely to have on our political system? These are the questions with which the Symposium will grapple. These are, we think, topics that ought to be of interest not just to students of politics and economics but also to Australian citizens in general.

The 2021 Symposium is to be held on Tuesday July 27 on the Fremantle Campus of The University of Notre Dame Australia. The invited speakers include Geoffrey Brennan (ANU/Duke University), William Coleman (ANU), Keith Dowding (ANU), and Jonathan Pincus (University of Adelaide).


Geoffrey Brennan
Moderator and Theme Selector for the 2021 Symposium
Australian National University.
Centre for Moral, Social and Political Theory.
Canberra, ACT.

For further details, please contact:

Gregory C. G. Moore
Chair of the 2021 Symposium Committee
The University of Notre  Dame, Australia
19 Mouat Street (PO    Box 1225)
Fremantle, Western Australia  6959
Tel: +61 8 9433 0914 
Fax: +61 8 9433 0640 

Riko Stevens
Administrative Officer for the 2021 Symposium
The University of Notre Dame Australia.
19 Mouat Street (PO Box 1225).
Fremantle WA 6959
Tel: +61 8 9433 0925
Fax:  +61 8 9433 0640