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Public Economics

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A Global Agenda

Access to education increased enormously in the past century, and higher proportions of people are completing primary, secondary, or tertiary education than ever before. But efforts to universalize the provision of high-quality schooling face major problems. In Educating All Children (which grew out of a multidisciplinary project undertaken by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences), leading experts consider the challenges of achieving universal basic and secondary education globally.

Evaluating the Welfare Impact of the British Privatizations, 1979-1997

The privatization carried out under the Thatcher and Major governments in Britain has been widely (although not universally) considered a success, and has greatly influenced the privatization of state industries in the transition economies of Eastern Europe. Massimo Florio's systematic analysis is the first comprehensive treatment of the overall welfare impact of this broad national policy of divestiture. Using the tools of social cost-benefit analysis, Florio assesses the effect of privatization on consumers, taxpayers, firms, shareholders, and workers.

This solutions manual for Intermediate Public Economics (MIT Press, 2006) offers students an opportunity to practice using the analytical tools of public economics at intermediate and more advanced levels. The 424 exercises in the textbook (all of which are covered in the solutions manual) vary widely in nature and difficulty; some involve reflection on the models used and the discussion of assumptions and conclusions, while others work through general arguments in the text using specific functional forms. Several require the use of data to test theoretical predictions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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