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Public Sector Economics

Edited by Richard W. Tresch

Routledge – 2009 – 1,832 pages

Series: Critical Concepts in Economics

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    October 5th 2009


How does government taxing and spending affect an economy, and how can we determine whether government policies promote a society’s economic objectives? What economic activities should governments undertake? Should they do less? How should an optimal tax system be designed? What information is required to determine the best possible distribution of income? And what are the advantages (or otherwise) of a federalist structure of government?

These are the kind of dizzying questions addressed by those working in public sector economics, and this new title in the Routledge series, Critical Concepts in Economics, meets the need for an authoritative reference work to make sense of the subdiscipline’s vast literature and the continuing explosion in research output.

Edited by Richard W. Tresch, author of a leading graduate textbook in the field, and a proponent of the mainstream theory of the public sector, this new Routledge Major Work brings together in four volumes the foundational and the very best cutting-edge scholarship to provide comprehensive coverage of many of the subdiscipline’s most important topics.

Volume I (‘Public Expenditures’) assembles the key work on the responses of governments to markets for desired goods and services that operate inefficiently or not at all. The main questions addressed include: what markets should a government become involved in to restore efficiency to the economy? How should it proceed in each instance to promote efficiency? And what are the factors that impede its efforts to restore efficiency?

Volume II (‘Taxation’) collects the most important research on taxation and the principal normative issue of how best to design good taxes from an economic perspective (i.e. taxes that are simple, equitable, and do the least harm to a government’s pursuit of efficiency). Issues explored here include the two main positive economic questions associated with taxation: how do the main taxes that governments use affect economic behaviour, primarily the supply of labour, saving and investment, and the incentives to evade paying these taxes; and tax incidence—who bears the burden of these taxes?

Volume III (‘Distribution’) brings together the best work on the pursuit of equity by governments through its taxes and transfer payments. Fundamental questions tackled include the optimal amount of redistribution a government should undertake through taxes and transfers, and how it should best design its transfer programmes to meet distributional goals.

The scholarship assembled in the final volume (‘Federalism’) explores the special problems that arise from having a tiered system of (supra-)national, state or provincial, and local governments. Primary issues within federalism include questions about which levels of government should perform the various legitimate functions of government, and how the movement of people in response to state/provincial and local taxes and expenditures affect the quest for equitable and efficient government policies. This volume also covers the important subsidiary debate over the use and effects of grants-in-aid from higher-level to lower-level governments.

Fully indexed and with a useful introduction to the collection, newly written by the editor, which places the collected material in its historical and intellectual context, Public Sector Economics is an essential work of reference. It is destined to be valued by scholars and students as a vital research resource.



Volume I: Public Expenditures

1. P. Samuelson, ‘The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure’, Review of Economics and Statistics, 1954, 36, 4, 387–9.

2. A. Atkinson and N. Stern, ‘Pigou, Taxation, and Public Goods’, Review of Economic Studies, 1974, 41, 125, 119–28.

3. J. Andreoni, ‘Cooperation in Public Goods Experiments: Kindness or Confusion?’, American Economic Review, 1995, 85, 4, 891–904.

4. R. Coase, ‘The Problem of Social Cost’, Journal of Law and Economics, Oct. 1960, 3, 1–23.

5. D. Usher, ‘The Coase Theorem is Tautological, Incoherent, or Wrong’, Economic Letters, 1998, 61, 3–11.

6. A. Dixit and M. Olson, ‘Does Voluntary Participation Undermine the Coase Theorem?’, Journal of Public Economics, 2000, 76, 3, 309–35.

7. E. Maskin, ‘The Invisible Hand and Externalities’, American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, 1994, 84, 2, 333–7.

8. E. J. Clarke, ‘Multipart Pricing of Public Goods’, Public Choice, 1971, 11, 1, 17–33.

9. T. Tideman and G. Tullock, ‘A New and Superior Process of Making Social Choices’, Journal of Political Economy, 1976, 84, 6, 1145–59.

10. P. Diamond and J. Mirrlees, ‘Optimal Taxation and Public Production (Part I: Production Efficiency)’, American Economic Review, 1971, 61, 1, 8–27.

11. J. Duggan and J. Roberts, ‘Implementing the Efficient Allocation of Pollution’, American Economic Review, 2002, 94, 2, 1070–8.

12. P. Joskow and R. Schmalensee, ‘The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions’, American Economic Review, 1998, 88, 4, 669–85.

13. M. Boiteux, ‘On the Management of Public Monopolies Subject to Budgetary Constraints’, Journal of Economic Theory, 1971, 3, 3, 219–40.

14. M. Pauly, ‘Overinsurance and the Public Provision of Insurance: The Roles of Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1974, 88, 1, 44–62.

15. M. Rothschild and J. Stiglitz, ‘Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1976, 90, 4, 629–49.

16. P. Diamond, ‘Social Security’, American Economic Review, 2004, 94, 1, 1–24

17. M. Feldstein, ‘Rethinking Social Insurance’, American Economic Review, 2005, 95, 1, 1–24.

18. P. Hammond, ‘Theoretical Progress in Public Economics: A Provocative Assessment’, Oxford Economic Papers, 1990, 42, 1, 6–33.

19. R. Boadway, ‘Integrating Equity and Efficiency in Applied Welfare Economics’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1976, 90, 4, 541–56.

20. J. Buchanan, ‘The Constitution of Economic Policy’, American Economic Review, 1987, 77, 3, 243–50.

21. K. Lancaster and R. G. Lipsey, ‘The General Theory of the Second Best’, Review of Economic Studies, 1956–7, 24, 1, 11–32.

22. M. Weitzman, ‘Prices vs. Quantities’, Review of Economic Studies, 1974, 41, 128, 477–91.

23. R. Tresch, Public Finance: A Normative Theory, 2nd edn. (Academic Press, 2002), pp. 273–92.

24. W. Baumol, ‘On Taxation and the Control of Externalities’, American Economic Review, 1972, 62, 3, 307–22.

Volume II: Taxation

25. R. Tresch, Public Finance: A Normative Theory, 2nd edn. (Academic Press, 2002), pp. 337–47.

26. M. Feldstein, ‘On the Theory of Tax Reform’, Journal of Public Economics, 1976, 6, 1–2, 77–104.

27. L. Kaplow, ‘Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle’, National Tax Journal, 1989, 42, 2, 139–54.

28. H. Peyton Young, ‘Distributive Justice in Taxation’, Journal of Economic Theory, 1988, 44, 2, 321–35.

29. K. Judd, ‘Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model’, Journal of Public Economics, 1985, 28, 1, 59–83.

30. P. Diamond and J. Mirrlees, ‘Optimal Taxation and Public Production (Part II: Tax Rules)’, American Economic Review, 1971, 61, 3, 261–78.

31. A. Atkinson and J. Stiglitz, ‘The Design of Tax Structure: Direct vs. Indirect Taxation’, Journal of Public Economics, 1976, 6, 1–2, 55–75.

32. W. Corlett and D. Hague, ‘Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation’, Review of Economic Studies, 1953–4, 21, 1, 21–30.

33. A. Harberger, ‘The Measurement of Waste’, American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, 1964, 54, 3, 58–76.

34. R. Sah, ‘How Much Redistribution is Possible Through Commodity Taxes?’, Journal of Public Economics, 1983, 20, 1, 89–101.

35. P. Samuelson, ‘Theory of Optimal Taxation’, Journal of Public Economics, 1986, 30, 2, 137–43.

36. J. Stiglitz, ‘Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation’, Journal of Public Economics, 1982, 17, 2, 213–40.

37. P. Diamond, ‘A Many Person Ramsey Tax Rule’, Journal of Public Economics, 1975, 4, 4, 335–42.

38. J. Mirrlees, ‘An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation’, Review of Economic Studies, 1971, 38, 114, 175–208.

39. P. Diamond, ‘Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates’, American Economic Review, 1998, 88, 1, 83–95.

40. L. Kotlikoff, ‘Taxation and Savings: A Neoclassical Perspective’, Journal of Economic Literature, 1984, 22, 4, 1576–1629.

41. D. Altig et al., ‘Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States’, American Economic Review, 2001, 91, 3, 574–95.

42. M. Allingham and A. Sandmo, ‘Income Tax Evasion: A Theoretical Analysis’, Journal of Public Economics, 1972, 1, 3–4, 323–38.

43. R. Boadway, M. Marchand, and P. Pestieau, ‘Towards a Theory of the Direct-Indirect Tax Mix’, Journal of Public Economics, 1994, 55, 1, 71–88.

44. L. Kaplow, ‘On the Divergence Between "Ideal" and Conventional Income Tax Treatment of Human Capital’, American Economic Review, 1996, 86, 2, 347–52.

Volume III: Distribution

45. A. Atkinson, ‘On the Measurement of Inequality’, Journal of Economic Theory, 1970, 2, 3, 244–63.

46. A. Atkinson, The Economics of Inequality, 2nd edn. (Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 53–9.

47. D. Kiefer, ‘Distributional Tax Progressivity Indexes’, National Tax Journal, 1984, 37, 4, 497–513.

48. A. Sen, ‘Ethical Measurement of Inequality: Some Difficulties’, in Sen (ed.), Choice, Welfare, and Measurement (MIT Press, 1982), pp. 416–32.

49. D. Jorgenson, ‘Aggregate Consumer Behavior and the Measurement of Social Welfare’, Econometrica, 1990, 58, 5, 1007–40.

50. D. Jorgenson, ‘Efficiency Versus Equity in Economic Policy Analysis’, American Economist, 1985, 29, 1, 5–14.

51. V. Dardanoni, ‘Measuring Social Mobility’, Journal of Economic Theory, 1993, 61, 2, 372–94.

52. E. Browning, ‘The Case Against Income Redistribution’, Public Finance Review, 2002, 30, 6, 509–30.

53. G. Ackerlof, ‘The Economics of Tagging’, American Economic Review, 1978, 68, 1, 8–19.

54. H. Hochman and J. Rodgers, ‘Pareto-Optimal Redistributions’, American Economic Review, 1969, 69, 4, 542–57.

55. J. Andreoni, ‘Privately Provided Goods in a Large Economy: The Limits of Altruism’, Journal of Public Economics, 1988, 35, 1, 57–73.

56. H. Varian, ‘Redistributive Taxation as Social Insurance’, Journal of Public Economics, 1980, 14, 1, 49–68.

57. C. Blackorby and D. Donaldson, ‘Cash Versus Kind, Self-Selection, and Efficient Transfers’, American Economic Review, 1988, 78, 4, 691–700.

58. T. Besley and S. Coate, ‘Understanding Welfare Stigma: Taxpayer Resentment and Statistical Discrimination’, Journal of Public Economics, 1992, 48, 2, 165–83.

59. T. Besley and S. Coate, ‘The Design of Income Maintenance Programs’, Review of Economic Studies, 1995, 62, 211, 187–221.

60. A. Harberger, ‘The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax’, Journal of Political Economy, 1962, 70, 3, 215–40.

61. D. Fullerton and D. Rogers, ‘Lifetime Versus Annual Perspectives on Tax Incidence’, National Tax Journal, 1991, 44, 3, 277–87.

62. J. Whalley, ‘Regression or Progression: The Taxing Question of Incidence’, Canadian Journal of Economics, 1984, 17, 4, 654–82.

63. J. Hines, ‘What is Benefit Taxation?’, Journal of Public Economics, 2000, 75, 3, 483–92.

64. J. Shoven and J. Whalley, ‘Equal Yield Tax Alternatives: General Equilibrium Computational Techniques’, Journal of Public Economics, 1977, 8, 2, 211–24.

Volume IV: Federalism

65. G. Stigler, ‘Tenable Range of Functions of Local Government’, Federal Expenditure Policy for Economic Growth and Stability, pp. 213–19 (Staff of Joint Economic Committee, Subcommittee on Fiscal Policy, 85th Congress, 1st Session, Washington, DC, US Government Printing Office, 1957).

66. W. Oates, Fiscal Federalism (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), pp. 3–20, 33–8, 149–53.

67. R. Tresch, Public Finance: A Normative Theory, 2nd edn. (Academic Press, 2002), pp. 841–53.

68. M. Pauly, ‘Income Distribution as a Local Public Good’, Journal of Public Economics, 1973, 2, 1, 35–58.

69. C. Tiebout, ‘A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures’, Journal of Political Economy, 1956, 64, 5, 416–24.

70. M. McGuire, ‘Group Segregation and Optimal Jurisdictions’, Journal of Political Economy, 1974, 82, 1, 112–32.

71. T. Bewley, ‘A Critique of Tiebout's Theory of Local Public Expenditures’, Econometrica, 1981, 49, 3, 713–40.

72. J. Stiglitz, ‘The Theory of Local Public Goods’, in M. Feldstein and R. Inman (eds.), The Economics of Public Services: Proceedings of a Conference Held by the International Economic Association at Turin, Italy (Macmillan, 1977), pp. 274–333.

73. C. Brown and W. Oates, ‘Assistance to the Poor in a Federal System’, Journal of Public Economics, 1987, 32, 3, 307–30.

74. D. Epple and T. Romer, ‘Mobility and Redistribution’, Journal of Political Economy, 1991, 99, 4, 828–58.

75. K. Lee, ‘Uncertain Income and Redistribution in a Federal System’, Journal of Public Economics, 1998, 69, 3, 413–33.

76. D. Epple and H. Sieg, ‘Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions’, Journal of Political Economy, 1999, 107, 4, 645–81.

77. J. Wilson, ‘Theories of Tax Competition’, National Tax Journal, 1999, 52, 2, 269–304.

78. R. Gordon, ‘An Optimal Tax Approach to Fiscal Federalism’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 1983, 98, 4, 567–86.

79. J. LeGrand, ‘Fiscal Equity and Central Government Grants to Local Authorities’, Economic Journal, 1975, 85, 339, 531–47.

80. R. Fisher, ‘Income and Grant Effects on Local Expenditures: The Flypaper Effect and Other Difficulties’, Journal of Urban Economics, 1982, 12, 3, 324–45.

Name: Public Sector Economics (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: Edited by Richard W. Tresch. How does government taxing and spending affect an economy, and how can we determine whether government policies promote a society’s economic objectives? What economic activities should governments undertake? Should they do less? How should an...
Categories: Political Economy, Public Finance, General Reference