Government versus Markets

Government versus Markets : The Changing Economic Role of the State

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Vito Tanzi offers a truly comprehensive treatment of the economic role of the state in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from a historical and world perspective. The book addresses the fundamental question of what governments should do, or have attempted to do, in economic activities in past and recent periods. It also speculates on what they are likely or may be forced to do in future years. The investigation assembles a large set of statistical information that should prove useful to policy-makers and scholars in the perennial discussion of government's optimal economic roles. It will become an essential reference work on the analytical borders between the market and the state, and on what a reasonable 'exit strategy' from the current fiscal crises should be.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 376 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 34 tables
  • 9781139089425

Table of contents

Preface; Part I. Economic Role of State: 1. General introduction and main issues; Part II. Historical Review: 2. The role of the state in the pre World War Two period; 3. Forces that changed the role of the state; 4. Growth of public spending in the 20th century; 5. The role of the state in social protection: historical landmarks; 6. Globalization and public spending; Part III. Theoretical and Analytical Issues: 7. Theories of public sector behavior: taxonomy of government types; 8. Voluntary exchange and public choice theories; 9. The Nord European economic theory of fiscal policy; 10. Policy tools and government roles; Part IV. The Outcome of State Intervention: 11. Evaluating the impact of public spending on socio-economic indicators; 12. Social protection in the modern world: quantitative aspects; 13. The role of the state and economic performance in the Nordic countries; Part V. Reflections on The Role of the State in the Future: 14. The economic role of the state in the future: concluding observations.
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Review quote

'Vito Tanzi is one of the very top leading experts on fiscal policy and public policy, and this a must-read for anyone interested in how governments work in reality and how they should work in an ideal world.' Alberto Alesina, Harvard University 'This highly accessible book is the summa of Vito Tanzi's unique experience as an academic, senior international official, and policy maker. Everyone will find this book informative and thought-provoking. As an EU policy maker and public finance practitioner, I found it highly challenging and very useful.' Marco Buti, European Commission 'Economists have a one-sided impression of Vito Tanzi: a rigorous fiscal economist, a sophisticated analyst. Now from the book we enjoy the other side of his character: a witty man with a warm sense of humor, an open-eyed observer, and a well-articulated writer.' Janos Kornai, Harvard University and Collegium Budapest, Hungary 'Any scholar interested in public economics and in the study of the role of government and any policy maker concerned with public policies will learn a great deal from this excellent book.' Paola Profeta, Bocconi University 'An outstanding analysis and a modern vision by a distinguished scholar about the new role of government in the present economic situation. It shows how markets may be made to work efficiently, avoiding financial and economic crisis, while providing economic recovery and stable economic growth.' Franco Reviglio, University of Turin 'In this book, Vito Tanzi marshals his vast reservoir of experience in fiscal matters and deep familiarity with modern economic thinking to produce a magisterial treatment of the economic role of the state - past, present, and future. It is packed with insights that will reward both the casual student of public policy and the wizened veteran of the academic and political battles over tax and expenditure policy. Be prepared for conclusions that will startle, such as Tanzi's view that the growing complexity of state interventions may be the gravest threat to the market economy and democracy.' Joel Slemrod, University of Michigan 'The beauty of this volume is that you can learn a great deal from sampling almost any handful of pages. And there are few, if any, equations ... Mr Tanzi is known as a fiscal hawk. That means he is a critic both of high government spending and of deficit finance. But in this book he is scrupulously fair in describing other points of view.' Financial Times 'A welcome and much-needed contribution to [an] emerging debate.' '... a masterpiece ...' Financial World
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About Vito Tanzi

An economist of international renown, Vito Tanzi served for 20 years as Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC with which he was affiliated for nearly three decades. He also taught at George Washington and American Universities. Dr Tanzi is the author of 14 books, including Public Spending in the 20th Century: A Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2000, with Ludger Schuknecht) and Inflation and the Personal Income Tax (Cambridge University Press, 1980) and he has edited 11 other titles with contributions. A former Undersecretary for Economics and Finance of the Italian Government, he was President of the International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF) from 1990 to 1994 and is the IIPF's Honorary President. Dr Tanzi is known for the Tanzi effect, or Olivera-Tanzi effect, which refers to the diminished real value of tax revenues in periods of high inflation due to collection lags. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Stanford Research Institute. Dr Tanzi received his doctorate in economics from Harvard University in 1967. He holds five honorary degrees.
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