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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.

Global public goods (GPGs)--the economic term for a broad range of goods and services that benefit everyone, including stable climate, public health, and economic security--pose notable governance challenges. At the national level, public goods are often provided by government, but at the global level there is no established state-like entity to take charge of their provision. The complex nature of many GPGs poses additional problems of coordination, knowledge generation and the formation of citizen preferences.

Retrospective and Prospective Views

Many things inform a country’s choice of tax system, including political considerations, public opinion, bureaucratic complexities, and ideas drawn from theoretical analysis. In this book, Robin Boadway examines the role of optimal tax analysis in informing and influencing tax policy design. Scholars of public economics formulate models of optimal tax-transfer systems based on normative principles that reflect efficiency and equity considerations. They use that analysis to form views about the optimal design or reform of actual tax systems that are much more complicated than their models.

As international trade has expanded dramatically in the postwar period--an expansion accelerated by the opening of China, Russia, India, and Eastern Europe--illicit international trade has grown in tandem with it. This volume uses the economist’s toolkit to examine the economic, political, and social problems resulting from such illicit activities as illegal drug trade, smuggling, and organized crime.

The European Union began with efforts in the Cold War era to foster economic integration among a few Western European countries. Today’s EU constitutes an upper tier of government that affects almost every level of policymaking in each of its twenty-seven member states. The recent financial and economic crises have tested this still-evolving institutional framework, and this book surveys key economic challenges faced by the EU.

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.

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.

How to Reverse the Trend of Declining Birth Rates

In 2050, world population growth is predicted to come almost to a halt. Shortly thereafter it may well start to shrink. A major reason behind this shift is the fertility decline that has taken place in many developed countries. In this book, experts discuss the appropriateness and effectiveness of using public policy to influence fertility decisions.

Japan’s economic bubble burst in the early 1990s, and the country entered its famous “lost decade”--a period of stagnation and economic disruption that persisted until 2003. The current declines in global equity and real estate markets have eerie parallels to Japan’s economic woes of the 1990s. If we are to avoid repeating Japan’s experience on a global scale, we must understand what happened, why it happened, and the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of Japan’s policy choices.

The Finnish Path from Crisis to Rapid Growth

Many countries have experienced major economic changes since the mid-1980s as a result of the deregulation and liberalization of national financial systems—two key aspects of globalization—with some experiencing boom and bust in rapid succession. The small Northern European country of Finland has been hailed as a success story for achieving renewed economic growth and prosperity after a financial crisis and deep depression in the early 1990s.

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