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Public Economics

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Public economics studies how government taxing and spending activities affect the economy—economic efficiency and the distribution of income and wealth. This comprehensive text on public economics covers the core topics of market failure and taxation as well as recent developments in both policy and the academic literature. It is unique not only in its broad scope but in its balance between public finance and public choice and its combination of theory and relevant empirical evidence.

The book covers the theory and methodology of public economics; presents a historical and theoretical overview of the public sector; and discusses such topics as departures from efficiency (including imperfect competition and asymmetric information), issues in political economy, equity, taxation, fiscal federalism, and tax competition among independent jurisdictions. Suggestions for further reading, from classic papers to recent research, appear in each chapter, as do exercises. The mathematics has been kept to a minimum without sacrificing intellectual rigor; the book remains analytical rather than discursive. This second edition has been thoroughly updated throughout. It offers new chapters on behavioral economics, limits to redistribution, international taxation, cost-benefit analysis, and the economics of climate policy. Additional exercises have been added and many sections revised in response to advice from readers of the first edition.

A solutions manual for all 582 exercises in the second edition of Intermediate Public Economics.

Lectures on Urban Economics offers a rigorous but nontechnical treatment of major topics in urban economics. To make the book accessible to a broad range of readers, the analysis is diagrammatic rather than mathematical. Although nontechnical, the book relies on rigorous economic reasoning. In contrast to the cursory theoretical development often found in other textbooks, Lectures on Urban Economics offers thorough and exhaustive treatments of models relevant to each topic, with the goal of revealing the logic of economic reasoning while also teaching urban economics.

Topics covered include reasons for the existence of cities, urban spatial structure, urban sprawl and land-use controls, freeway congestion, housing demand and tenure choice, housing policies, local public goods and services, pollution, crime, and quality of life. Footnotes throughout the book point to relevant exercises, which appear at the back of the book. These 22 extended exercises (containing 125 individual parts) develop numerical examples based on the models analyzed in the chapters. Lectures on Urban Economics is suitable for undergraduate use, as background reading for graduate students, or as a professional reference for economists and scholars interested in the urban economics perspective.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instructor’s manual and slides of all figures in the book

This concise introduction to the economic theories of taxation is intuitive yet rigorous, relating the theories both to existing tax systems and to key empirical studies. The Economics of Taxation offers a thorough discussion of the consequences of taxes on economic decisions and equilibrium outcomes, as well as useful insights into how policy makers should design taxes. It covers such issues of central policy importance as taxation of income from capital, environmental taxation, and tax credits for low-income families.
This second edition has been significantly revised and updated. Changes include a substantially rewritten chapter on direct taxation; a discussion of recent research in the chapter on mixed taxation; the replacement of the chapter on capital taxation with a chapter on the “new dynamic public finance”; and considerations of environmental taxation in both theory and policy chapters.
The book is aimed at graduate students or advanced undergraduates taking public finance classes as well as economists who want to learn more about the topic. It combines discussion of theory, empirical work, and policy objectives in compact form. Appendixes provide necessary background material on consumer and producer theory and the theory of optimal control.

The field of forest economics has expanded rapidly in the last two decades, and yet there exists no up-to-date textbook for advanced undergraduate-graduate level use or rigorous reference work for professionals. Economics of Forest Resources fills these gaps, offering a comprehensive technical survey of the field with special attention to recent developments regarding policy instrument choice and uncertainty. It covers all areas in which mathematical models have been used to explain forest owner and user incentives and government behavior, introducing the reader to the rigor needed to think through the consequences of policy instruments. Technically difficult concepts are presented with a unified and progressive approach; an appendix outlines the basic concepts from calculus needed to understand the models and results developed. The book first presents the historical and classic models that every student or researcher in forest economics must know, including Faustman and Hartman approaches, public goods, spatial interdependence, two period life-cycle models, and overlapping generations problems. It then discusses topics including policy instrument choice, deforestation, biodiversity conservation, and age-class based forest modeling. Finally, it surveys such advanced topics as uncertainty in two period models, catastrophic risk, stochastic control problems, deterministic optimal control, and stochastic and deterministic dynamic programming approaches. Boxes with empirical content illustrating applications of the theoretical material appear throughout. Each chapter is self-contained, allowing the reader, student, or instructor to use the text according to individual needs.

This comprehensive introduction to economic growth presents the main facts and puzzles about growth, proposes simple methods and models needed to explain these facts, acquaints the reader with the most recent theoretical and empirical developments, and provides tools with which to analyze policy design. The treatment of growth theory is fully accessible to students with a background no more advanced than elementary calculus and probability theory; the reader need not master all the subtleties of dynamic programming and stochastic processes to learn what is essential about such issues as cross-country convergence, the effects of financial development on growth, and the consequences of globalization. The book, which grew out of courses taught by the authors at Harvard and Brown universities, can be used both by advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and as a reference for professional economists in government or international financial organizations. The Economics of Growth first presents the main growth paradigms: the neoclassical model, the AK model, Romer’s product variety model, and the Schumpeterian model. The text then builds on the main paradigms to shed light on the dynamic process of growth and development, discussing such topics as club convergence, directed technical change, the transition from Malthusian stagnation to sustained growth, general purpose technologies, and the recent debate over institutions versus human capital as the primary factor in cross-country income differences. Finally, the book focuses on growth policies--analyzing the effects of liberalizing market competition and entry, education policy, trade liberalization, environmental and resource constraints, and stabilization policy--and the methodology of growth policy design. All chapters include literature reviews and problem sets. An appendix covers basic concepts of econometrics.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

Theory and Applications

The marginal cost of public funds (MCF) measures the loss incurred by society in raising additional revenues to finance government spending. The MCF has emerged as one of the most important concepts in public economics; it is a key component in evaluations of tax reforms, public expenditure programs, and other public policies. The Marginal Cost of Public Funds provides a unified treatment of the MCF, carefully developing its theoretical foundations in a variety of contexts and describing its application to a wide range of policies—from excise taxes in Thailand to public sector borrowing in Canada and the United States.

The Marginal Cost of Public Funds develops the basic theory of the MCF within the framework of public economics and shows how it is related to the traditional measures of the efficiency loss from distortionary taxation. The MCF concept is then applied to the major sources of revenues for governments—sales and excise taxes, taxes on labor income, taxes on the return to capital, public sector borrowing, and intergovernmental grants. This book will be an essential reference for economists and public policy analysts both in and out of government. Exercises and recommendations for further reading at the end of each main chapter highlight its usefulness as a supplementary text in advanced undergraduate or graduate courses in public economics.

A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes

As Albert Einstein may or may not have said, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." Indeed, to follow the debate over tax reform, the interested citizen is forced to choose between misleading sound bites and academic treatises. Taxing Ourselves bridges the gap between the two by discussing the key issues clearly and without a political agenda: Should the federal income tax be replaced with a flat tax or sales tax? Should it be left in place and reformed? Can tax cuts stimulate the economy, or will higher deficits undermine any economic benefit? Tax policy experts Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija lay out in accessible language what is known and not known about how taxes affect the economy, offer guidelines for evaluating tax systems, and provide enough information to assess both the current income tax system and the leading proposals to reform or replace it (including the flat tax and the consumption tax).

The fourth edition of this popular guide has been extensively revised to incorporate the latest information, covering such recent developments as the Bush administration's tax cuts (which expire in 2011) and the alternatives proposed by the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. Slemrod and Bakija provide us with the knowledge and the tools—including an invaluable voter's guide to the tax policy debate—to make our own informed choices about how we should tax ourselves.

This new edition of the leading text on business and government focuses on the insights economic reasoning can provide in analyzing regulatory and antitrust issues. Departing from the traditional emphasis on institutions, Economics of Regulation and Antitrust asks how economic theory and empirical analyses can illuminate the character of market operation and the role for government action and brings new developments in theory and empirical methodology to bear on these questions.The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated throughout, with new material added and extended discussion of many topics. Part I, on antitrust, has been given a major revision to reflect advances in economic theory and recent antitrust cases, including the case against Microsoft and the Supreme Court's Kodak decision. Part II, on economic regulation, updates its treatment of the restructuring and deregulation of the telecommunications and electric power industries, and includes an analysis of what went wrong in the California energy market in 2000 and 2001. Part III, on social regulation, now includes increased discussion of risk-risk analysis and extensive changes to its discussion of environmental regulation. The many case studies included provide students not only pertinent insights for today but also the economic tools to analyze the implications of regulations and antitrust policies in the future. The book is suitable for use in a wide range of courses in business, law, and public policy, for undergraduates as well at the graduate level. The structure of the book allows instructors to combine the chapters in various ways according to their needs. Presentation of more advanced material is self-contained. Each chapter concludes with questions and problems.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: file of figures in the book

This landmark theoretical book is about the mechanisms by which special interest groups affect policy in modern democracies. Defining a special interest group as any organization that takes action on behalf of an identifiable group of voters, Gene Grossman and Elhanan Helpman ask: How do special interest groups derive their power and influence? What determines the extent to which they are able to affect policy outcomes? What happens when groups with differing objectives compete for influence?

The authors develop important theoretical tools for studying the interactions among voters, interest groups, and politicians. They assume that individuals, groups, and parties act in their own self-interest and that political outcomes can be identified with the game-theoretic concept of an equilibrium. Throughout, they progress from the simple to the more complex. When analyzing campaign giving, for example, they begin with a model of a single interest group and a single, incumbent policy maker. They proceed to add additional interest groups, a legislature with several independent politicians, and electoral competition between rival political parties. The book is organized in three parts. Part I focuses on voting and elections. Part II examines the use of information as a tool for political influence. Part III deals with campaign contributions, which interest groups may use either to influence policy makers' positions and actions or to help preferred candidates to win election.

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