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For other uses, see The Politician (disambiguation).

A politician (from Classical Greek πόλις, "polis") is a person holding or seeking an office within a government, usually by means of an election, voted for either by people or by a definitive group in the government. A person experienced in the art or science of government, especially one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government.[1] Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution where the ranks are awarded by the kind of support the person has.


Politicians are people who are politically active; especially in party politics. They hold or seek political office, whether elected or appointed, professionally or otherwise. Positions range from local offices to executive, legislative and judicial offices of state and national governments.[2][3] Some law enforcement officers, such as sheriffs, are considered politicians.[4][5]

Public choice theory[edit]

Public choice theory involves the use of modern economic tools to study problems that are traditionally in the province of political science. (A more general term is "political economy", an earlier name for "economics" that evokes its practical and theoretical origins, but it should not be mistaken for the Marxian use of the same term.)

In particular, it studies the behaviour of voters, politicians and government officials as (mostly) self-interested agents and their interactions in the social system either as such or under alternative constitutional rules. These can be represented a number of ways, including standard constrained utility maximization, game theory, or decision theory. Public choice analysis has roots in positive analysis ("what is"), but is often used for normative purposes ("what ought to be"), to identify a problem or suggest how a system could be improved by changes in constitutional rules.[6] A key formulation of public choice theory is in terms of rational choice, the agent-based proportioning of scarce means to given ends. An overlapping formulation with a different focus is positive political theory. Another related field is social choice theory.

There are also Austrian variants of public choice theory (suggested by Mises,[7] Hayek, Kirzner, Lopez, and Boettke) in which it is assumed that bureaucrats and politicians are benevolent, but have access to limited information.


Various publishers have criticized politicians for being out of touch with the public. Areas of friction include the manner in which politicians speak, which has been described as being overly formal and filled with many euphemistic and metaphorical expressions and commonly perceived as an attempt to "obscure, mislead, and confuse".[8]

Some politicians are corrupt, taking money in exchange for goods or services, which may be unethical and illegal. For example, outrage against what were regarded as corrupt politicians in India led to a hunger strike by Anna Hazare in 2015.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "politician | someone who is active in government usually as an elected official". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  2. ^ "politician - Webster's New World College Dictionary". Yourdictionary.com. 2013-05-21. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  3. ^ "politician - Princeton Wordnet dictionary". wordfind.com. 
  4. ^ Gaines, Miller, Larry, Roger LeRoy (2012). Criminal Justice in Action. Wadsworth Publishing. p. 152. ISBN 978-1111835576. 
  5. ^ Grant, Grant, Donald Lee, Jonathan (2001). The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia. University of Georgia Press. p. 449. ISBN 978-0820323299. 
  6. ^ Tullock, 1987, pp. 1040–41
  7. ^ Bureaucracy, Mises
  8. ^ Invitation to Critical Thinking - Page 319, Vincent E. Barry - 2007
  9. ^ "Anna Hazare to commence hunger strike from Oct 2", India Blooms, 17 September 2015


External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of politician at Wiktionary
  • Quotations related to Politician at Wikiquote