Public Economics in Action: The Basic Income/Flat Tax Proposal

By A. B. Atkinson | Go to book overview
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Series Foreword
The Lindahl Lectures on Monetary and Fiscal Policy have been instituted by Uppsala University with support from Nordbanken as a biannual event to honor the memory of Erik Lindahl ( 1891- 1960). Lindahl was a great economist who held a chair in economics at the University between 1942 and 1958. A concise but thorough account of Lindahl's scientific contributions with a selective bibliography has been published by Otto Steiger.1 A more extensive account, including many valuable biographical details, has been presented by Jan Petersson.2 Lindahl's contributions fall mainly within four areas:
1. National income accounting.
2. Public finance.
3. Monetary and macroeconomic theory.
4. Stabilization policy.

National accounts are essential for the design of tax policy and stabilization policies. Lindahl developed a consistent intertemporal framework for the basic concept of income by relating it to capital, the pricing of capital goods, and capital gains and losses. He also devoted much time and effort to initiating the empirical measurement of national income movements over time in Sweden. His extremely meticulous work with social accounting concepts has proved to be of such lasting value that it led Sir John Hicks to call him 'the father of Social Accounting theory.'3

In public finance Lindahl greatly advanced Knut Wicksell's benefit approach to taxation. His theoretical model for distribut

"'Erik Robert Lindahl,'" in John Eatwell, Murray Milgate, and Peter Newman (eds.), The New Palgrave, New York, The Stockton Press, 1987, Vol. 3, pp. 194-198.
"'Erik Lindahl'", in Ragnar Bentzel et al. "'Economics at Uppsala University. The Department and its Professors since 1741'", Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia Oeconomica Upsaliensia 23, 1993, pp. 71-92.
John R. Hicks, "'Recollections and Documents,'" Economica, Vol. 40, No. 157, February 1973, pp. 2-11.


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