Oxford University Press has just published Justin Buchler’s book, Hiring and Firing Public Officials: Rethinking the Purpose of Elections.

In the book, Buchler, an assistant professor of political science, argues that an election is a mechanism by which voters hire and fire public officials. It is not a consumer product market; it is a single employment decision. Thus, the health of democracy depends not on regular competitive elections but rather on posing a credible threat to fire public officials who do not perform their jobs well. The purpose of that threat, he says, is to force public officials to act as faithful public servants so that they do not have to be fired. Therefore, competitive elections, by most definitions, are indicative of a failure of the democratic system.

Buchler won the 2007 Gordon Tullock Award for Best Paper by a Young Scholar in the journal Public Choice for his article “The Social Sub-optimality of Competitive Elections.”