Public Finance


finance, theory and practice of conducting large public and private dealings in money. Important institutions of private finance include those that deal with insurance, banking, stocks (see stock), bonds, and other securities. With the development of the national state, public finance—the management of the revenues, expenditures, and debts of the state—has been of great political, as well as economic, importance. The most important source of government revenue is taxes, but sale of public properties and franchises, as well as the sale of interest-bearing bonds, also contribute. Since the Korean War, a large part of governmental expenditures has gone for various military and defense needs. Other important areas of governmental expenditure are health, education, and welfare (the Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs); interest on the national debt; and public works. Important institutions of international finance are the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund.

See D. Allen, Finance (1983); D. Swain, Managing Public Money (1987); L. Harris et al., ed., New Perspectives on the Financial System (1988); N. Gianaris, Contemporary Public Finance (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Public Finance: Selected full-text books and articles

Theory of Public Finance in a Federal State By Dietmar Wellisch Cambridge University Press, 2000
Public Finance and the Political Process By Randall G. Holcombe Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
Financial Management Theory in the Public Sector By Aman Khan; W. Hildreth Bartley Praeger, 2004
The Economics of Public Finance By Alan S. Blinder; Robert M. Solow; George F. Break; Peter O. Steiner; Dick Netzer The Brookings Institution, 1974
Financing State and Local Governments By J. Richard Aronson; John Hilley L.; Financing State and Local Governments Brookings Institution, 1986 (4th edition)
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