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Albert BRETON

Albert BRETON, economist in the field of Fiscal Theory and Policy: Public Finance; Social Choice; Bureaucratic Performance; Macroeconomic Theory. Gust Instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA, 1959-1960; Post-Doctoral Fellow, University Chicago, 1965-1966; Killam Senior Research Scholar, 1972, 1974, 1977-1978; Fellow, Royal Society Canada, since 1976; ViceChairman, Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, 1979-1982; Commissioner, Canadian Royal Committee Union and Development Prospects Canada, since 1982.

Background

  • BRETON, Albert was born in 1929 in Montmarte, Saskatchewan, Canada.

  • Education

    • Bachelor of Arts College, de S. Boniface, 1951. Doctor of Philosophy Columbia University, 1965.

    Career

    • Assistant Professor, University de Montreal, 1957-1965. Director Research, Social Research Group, Montreal, 1956-1965. Visiting Association Professor, Carleton University, Ottawa, 1964-1965.

      Senior Lector, Reader, London School of Economies and Political Science, London, United Kingdom, 1966-1969. Invited Professor, University Catholique Louvain, Belgium, 1968. Visiting Professor, Harvard University, 1969-1970.

      Professor of Economics, University Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 1970. Editorial Board, Public Finance, Finances Publiques, since 1975.

    Major achievements

    • Gust Instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., USA, 1959-1960. Post-Doctoral Fellow, University Chicago, 1965-1966. Killam Senior Research Scholar, 1972, 1974, 1977-1978.

      Fellow, Royal Society Canada, since 1976. ViceChairman, Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, 1979-1982. Commissioner, Canadian Royal Committee Union and Development Prospects Canada, since 1982.

    Views

    My earlier work on nationalism produced a new theory of that phenomenon and the first model of what was later to be rediscovered as ‘the’ theory of rent-seeking. It also generated a conviction that a deeper understanding of public economics would require that more attention be given to the supply side of the government sector. My book on Representative Government stressed such an approach.

    My later work with Ronald Wintrobe developed a new theory of bureaucracy that was the first to stress that these organisations are not mainly authority structures, but networks of exchange relationships based on trust. And that bureaucracies are not, in general, monopolies, but systems of competing bureaus. From the very beginning, my interest in governmental supply had led me to the study of federalism. After developing a theory of federalism based on the properties of public goods, I was, with Anthony Scott, among the first to suggest a theory of federalism based on organisational or transaction costs.

    In the 1970s, with Peter Wieszkowski, I provided the first economic theory of bilingualism as a prolegomena to an understanding of the supply of language policies by governments in Canada and virtually everywhere in the world.

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    Born 1929
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