Modern Public Economics

Modern Public Economics

Modern Public Economics

Modern Public Economics

Synopsis

Public finance is a subject of continuing interest. This text demystifies topics such as welfare economics, taxation theory, applied problems in public economics and fiscal federalism. The target readership is advanced undergraduates and postgraduates.

Excerpt

Public economics, loosely defined as the study of government intervention in the marketplace, is a rapidly growing area of research. Until a few years ago, public economics could be thought of as being applied micro theory. Not any more. Branches of economics, which were, just a decade ago, thought to have little connection with public finance, have intruded into the domain of public economics. For example, the theory of regulation which has traditionally been an area of concern for the economics of regulation, is now actively researched by scholars working in public economics. The worldwide attention given to issues of the burden of the public debt has led to considerable refinement of the macroeconomic side of public sector behavior. With increasing integration in international trade and commerce, the international aspects of government behavior are becoming increasingly important. Examples like this can be multiplied considerably.

We who study public economics live in exciting and, sometimes, trying times. From time to time a need is felt to provide a sense of perspective on the state of the art—particularly at its frontiers—from which both practitioners as well as students can benefit. This is what courses and texts are supposed to do.

In writing this book I have tried to provide such a sense of perspective. This book develops the foundations of public economics and explores, in considerable detail, research being done at the frontiers. It is written with upper level undergraduates and postgraduate students of economics as audience. With this objective in mind, key arguments are carefully developed and mathematical proofs are carefully worked out so that there are no 'missing steps' for students to fill in. It has been my experience while teaching public economics to students in three countries—Queen's University, Canada, University of Warwick, UK, and IGIDR and Delhi School of Economics in India—that students find it very hard to work through the missing steps in proofs of papers published in scientific journals or, for that matter, advanced texts. This has the predictable result that teachers have to provide considerable background notes. The present book should help to ameliorate this difficulty. I have made a conscious effort to provide complete proofs which should be easy to follow without the need for any . . .

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