Henry J. Aaron

Henry J. Aaron is Senior Fellow in Economic Studies and The Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Chair at the Brookings Institution.

  • Should the United States Privatize Social Security?

    Should the United States Privatize Social Security?

    Henry J. Aaron, John B. Shoven, and Benjamin M. Friedman

    The two papers that make up the core of this book address what is perhaps the most fundamental question in the current debate over Social Security: whether to shift, in part or even entirely, from today's pay-as-you-go system to one that is not just funded but also privatized in the sense that individuals would retain control over the investment of their funds and, therefore, personally bear the associated risk. John Shoven argues yes, Henry Aaron no. Theoretical issues such as the likely effects on saving behavior and capital formation figure importantly in this discussion. But so do a broad array of practical considerations such as the expense of fund management and accounting, questions about how the public would regard the fairness of any new system, and the impact of recent developments in the federal budget and the U.S. stock market.

    The book also includes responses to both papers by four prominent economists—Robert J. Barro and David M. Cutler, of Harvard University; Alicia H. Munnell, of Boston College; and James Tobin, of Yale University—as well as Henry Aaron's and John Shoven's replies. The introductory remarks are by Benjamin M. Friedman.


  • Incentives and Choice in Health Care

    Incentives and Choice in Health Care

    Frank A. Sloan and Hirschel Kasper

    Leading scholars in the field of health economics evaluate the role of incentives in health and health-care decision making from the perspectives of both supply and demand.

    A vast body of empirical evidence has accumulated demonstrating that incentives affect health care choices made by both consumers and suppliers of health care services. Decisions in health care are affected by many types of incentives, such as the rate of return pharmaceutical manufacturers expect on their investments in research and development, or disincentives, such as increases in copayments patients must make when they visit physicians or are admitted to hospitals.

    In this volume, leading scholars in health economics review these new and important results and describe their own recent research assessing the role of incentives in health care markets and decisions people make that affect their personal health. The contexts include demand decisions—choices made by individuals about health care services they consume and the health insurance policies they purchase—and supply decisions made by medical students, practicing physicians, hospitals, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Researchers and students of health economics and policy makers will find this book a valuable resource, both for learning economic concepts, particularly as they apply to health care, and for reading up-to-date summaries of the empirical evidence. General readers will find the book's chapters accessible, interesting, and useful for gaining an understanding of the likely effects of alternative health care policies.

    Contributors Henry J. Aaron, Ernst R. Berndt, John Cawley, Julie M. Donohue, Donna Gilleskie, Brian R. Golden, Gautam Gowrisankaran, Chee-Ruey Hsieh, Hirschel Kasper, Thomas G. McGuire, Joseph P. Newhouse, Sean Nicholson, Mark V. Pauly, Anna D. Sinaiko, Frank Sloan

    • Hardcover $15.75
    • Paperback $40.00
  • Fundamental Tax Reform

    Fundamental Tax Reform

    Issues, Choices, and Implications

    John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow

    Leading experts on tax policy examine the complex issues involved in fundamental tax reform, including the relative merits of income-based and consumption-based taxation.

    Reform of the federal income tax system has become a perennial item on the domestic policy agenda of the United States, although there is considerable uncertainty over specifics. Indeed the recent report of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform recommended not one but two divergent policy directions (and included extensive discussion of a third).

    In Fundamental Tax Reform, top experts in tax policy discuss a wide range of issues raised by the prospect of significant tax reform, identifying the most critical questions and considering whether the answers are known, unknown—or unknowable. The debates over tax reform usually concern the advantages and disadvantages of income-based taxation as opposed to any of the several alternative forms of consumption-based taxation. The book opens with chapters that discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and political feasibility of these options. Other chapters consider the effect of tax reform on businesses, especially their investment behavior, and include a discussion of possible problems in any transition to a consumption-based tax; international taxation issues arising in an era of globalization; and individual behavioral response to tax reform, including a view of the topic from the perspective of the relatively new field of behavioral economics.

    Contributors Rosanne Altshuler, Alan J. Auerbach, John W. Diamond, Harry Grubert, Arnold C. Harberger, Kevin A. Hassett, Thomas J. Kniesner, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Edward J. McCaffery, Kathryn Newmark, David Rapson, Daniel Shaviro, Joel Slemrod, James P. Ziliak, George R. Zodrow

    Discussants James Alm, Henry J. Aaron, Charles L. Ballard, Leonard E. Burman, Robert S. Chirinko, Robert D. Dietz, Malcolm Gillis, Roger H. Gordon, Jane G. Gravelle, Timothy S. Gunning, James M. Poterba, Thomas S. Neubig, Alan Viard, George Yin