… is from page 197 of Louis De Alessi’s 1995 paper “The Public-Choice Model of Antitrust Enforcement,” which serves as the Introduction to Part Three of the important 1995 collection edited by Fred S. McChesney and William F. Shughart II, The Causes and Consequences of Antitrust (original brackets):
The public-choice approach denies the assumption that government employees act in single-minded pursuit of the public interest, defined as allocative [Pareto] optimality. That belief lacks any theoretical or empirical basis. Oddly enough, many who support a shift in regulation from market to government processes because the market fails to provide the “right” incentives simultaneously disregard the possibility that government institutions also fail to provide the “right” incentives.
A note especially for economist patrons of the Cafe: Lou De Alessi is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated economists of the past half-century. His writings are always deeply insightful, careful, and successful at moving the analytical ball forward.