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.
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.