The Economist's View of the World

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Cambridge University Press, May 23, 1985 - Political Science - 331 pages
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This book explains and assesses the ways in which micro, welfare and benefit-cost economists view the world of public policy. In general terms, microeconomic concepts and models can be seen to appear regularly in the work of political scientists, sociologists and psychologists. As a consequence, these and related concepts and models have now had sufficient time to influence strongly and to extend the range of policy options available to government departments. The central focus of this book is the 'cross-over' from economic modelling to policy implementation, which remains obscure and uncertain. The author outlines the importance of a wider knowledge of microeconomics for improving the effects and orientation of public policy. He also provides a critique of some basic economic assumptions, notably the 'consumer sovereignty principle'. Within this context the reader is in a better position to understand the 'marvellous insights and troubling blindnesses' of economists where often what is controversial politically is not so controversial among economists.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
USEFUL CONCEPTS
9
OPPORTUNITY COST
11
MARGINALISM
25
ECONOMIC INCENTIVES
39
GOVERNMENT AND MARKETS EFFICIENCY AND EQUITY
59
GOVERNMENT AND THE ECONOMY
61
ECONOMISTS AND EQUITY
82
EXTERNALITIES AND THE GOVERNMENT AGENDA
113
BENEFITCOST ANALYSIS
124
THE LIMITS OF ECONOMICS
141
THE ECONOMISTS CONSUMER AND INDIVIDUAL WELLBEING
143
A SECOND LOOK AT EXTERNALITIES
179
REPRESENTATIVES DELIBERATION AND POLITICAL LEADERSHIP
199
CONCLUSION
213
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About the author (1985)

Steven Rhoads has taught public policy at the University of Virginia for over thirty years. His books include The Economist's View of the World and Incomparable Worth: Pay Equity Meets the Market.

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