Front Page Titles (by Subject) Cost in the Predictive Theory - Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Vol. 6 of the Collected Works
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Cost in the Predictive Theory - James M. Buchanan, Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory, Vol. 6 of the Collected Works 
The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Foreword by Geoffrey Brennan, Hartmut Kliemt, and Robert D. Tollison, 20 vols. (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999-2002). Vol. 6 Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory.
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Cost in the Predictive Theory
If we remain strictly within the predictive science of economics, cost can be considered to be properly defined in most of the modern textbooks, and there is little need to elaborate on these standard definitions. This is the cost of the familiar textbook diagrams, the objectively identifiable magnitude that is minimized. It is the market value of the alternate product that might be produced by rational reallocation of resource inputs to uses other than that observed. This market value is reflected in the market prices for resource units; hence, cost is measured directly by prospective money outlays.
For whom is this cost relevant? This becomes a critically important question. Cost as just defined is faced in the strict sense only by the automaton, the pure economic man, who inhabits the scientist’s model. It is the behavior-inhibiting element that is plugged into the purely mechanistic market model. The conversion of objective data reflecting prospective money outlays into the subjective evaluations made by real-world decision-makers is of no concern to the predictive theorist. In the strict sense, this theory is not a theory of choice at all. Individuals do not choose; they behave predictably in response to objectively measurable changes in their environment.