TermDescription
government The institutions and procedures through which a land and its people are ruled. (See page 5)
autocracy A form of government in which a single individual rules. (See page 6)
oligarchy A form of government in which a small group of landowners, military officers, or wealthy merchants controls most of the governing decisions. (See page 6)
democracy A system of rule that permits citizens to play a significant part in the governmental process, usually through the selection of key public officials. (See page 6)
constitutional government A system of rule in which formal and effective limits are placed on the powers of the government. (See page 6)
authoritarian government A system of rule in which the government recognizes no formal limits but may nevertheless be restrained by the power of other social institutions. (See page 6)
totalitarian government A system of rule in which the government recognizes no formal limits on its power and seeks to absorb or eliminate other social institutions that might challenge it. (See page 6)
free riding Enjoying the benefits of some good or action while letting others bear the costs. (See page 9)
public good A good that (1) may be enjoyed by anyone if it is provided and (2) may not be denied to anyone once it has been provided. (See page 9)
politics The conflicts and struggles over the leadership, structure, and policies of government. (See page 9)
institutions The rules and procedures that provide incentives for political behavior, thereby shaping politics. (See page 10)
principal-agent relationship The relationship between a principal and his or her agent. This relationship may be affected by the fact that each is motivated by self-interest, yet their interests may not be well-aligned. (See page 13)