In response to the idea that alternative theories, ideologies and institutions of public economics are unsatisfactory, this important and path-breaking book deals with the principles of economics using a more realistic `tempered public choice approach'.
Opening with an introduction on the development of the economic theory of public finance, Francesco Forte develops a discourse based on a theoretical framework of welfare economics. Here, the assumption of `homo oeconomicus' is replaced by that of an average man with imperfect rationality and imperfect ethical constraints, and social welfare functions are replaced by equilibrium solutions in `games' played by contracting parties at constitutional and post-constitutional stages. The positive and normative theory of public goods becomes much more complex, and merit wants are evaluated from an individualistic perspective. Theories of public expenditure, public revenues and the interrelation between various levels of government are also analysed.
The public choice approach combined with theoretical welfare economics and institutions will prove a stimulating and engaging read for those with a special interest in public sector economics, public choice and Austrian economics.
Francesco Forte, Emeritus Professor of Public Economics, Department of Economics and Law, Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy
Contents: Introduction: Background: Some Aspects of the History of Thought 1. Decision-making Processes and the Structures of Public Finance 2. Individual and Collective Welfare 3. Public Wants and Public Goods 4. Equilibrium and Disequilibrium between Demand and Supply of Public Goods 5. Bureaucracy and Interest Groups 6. The Fiscal Constitution and the Rules Governing the Budget 7. Public Expenditure 8. Public Revenue and the Tax Burden 9. Income Effects and Allocation Effects of Taxes 10. Optimal Taxation in a Public Economy Conforming to the Market Economy 11. Tax Shifting 12. Public Prices 13. Public Debt and Fiscal Policy 14. Supranational, Regional and Local Public Finance Appendix Bibliography Index