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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 in public economics covers the core topics market failure and taxation as well as recent developments in the political economy and public choice literatures. 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.

This NBER series presents current academic research findings in the areas of taxation and government spending. The papers included provide important background information for policy analysts in government and the private sector without making specific policy recommendations.

Problems and Prescriptions

Japan, the world's second largest economy, has suffered from a prolonged period of stagnation and malaise since 1991. Subpar growth, failing banks, plummeting real estate and stock prices, deflation, unprecedented unemployment, and huge government liabilities have persisted, despite extraordinary fiscal and monetary policy fixes.

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.

In 2000, the average driver in US metropolitan areas endured 27 hours of traffic delays, a rise from 7 hours in 1980. In many other countries, traffic delays are considerably worse than in the United States, and in developing countries urban traffic congestion is increasing with alarming rapidity. For fifty years, economists have been advocating congestion pricing as the way to deal with urban traffic congestion; but today, even after some successes, congestion pricing is encountering considerable political resistance.

Inflation targeting—when central bank policies set specific inflation rate objectives—is widely used by both developed and developing countries around the world (although not by the United States or the European Central Bank). This collection of original essays looks at how Brazil's policy of inflation targeting, coupled with a floating exchange rate, survived a series of severe economic shocks and examines the policy lessons that can be drawn from Brazil's experience.

Demography and Globalization

In The Decline of the Welfare State, Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka use a political economy framework to analyze the effects of aging populations, migration, and globalization on the deteriorating system of financing welfare state benefits as we know them. Their timely analysis, supported by a unified theoretical framework and empirical findings, demonstrates how the combined forces of demographic change and globalization will make it impossible for the welfare state to maintain itself on its present scale.

The existing literature in both public economics and financial economics often fails to consider how appropriate and effective public policy may be in promoting the venture capital industry. Public economics has dealt extensively with the effect of taxes and subsidies but has neglected the unique role of venture capitalists as active investors who provide not only funding but added value. Financial economics has emphasized the special role of the venture capitalist but has not focused on the real effects of venture capital in industry equilibrium or the role of public policy.

Essays in Honor of Joseph E. Stiglitz

Throughout Joseph Stiglitz's long and distinguished career in economics, the focus has been on the real world, with all of its imperfections. His 2001 Nobel Prize recognized his pioneering research in imperfect information; his work in other areas, including macroeconomics, public economics, and development economics, has been just as influential. This volume, a collection of essays written to mark Stiglitz's sixtieth birthday, reflects the wide-ranging influence of "Stiglitzian" economics.

The sixteen essays in this book were written to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Richard Musgrave and to commemorate the tenth anniversary of CES, the Center for Economic Studies at the University of Munich. Musgrave is considered to be a founding father of modern public economics. He belongs to the intellectual tradition that views government as an instrument that can be used to correct market failure and to establish the society that people want. Although his work fits within the individualistic framework of modern economics, he also draws on principles of moral philosophy.

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