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The Foundations of Economic Policy

The Foundations of Economic Policy
Values and Techniques


  • Date Published: October 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521586382

£ 56.99

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About the Authors
  • Recent developments in public economics have largely been in the direction of reaffirming the limits of the market and of establishing new ones. The possible existence of fundamental non-convexities, imperfect and asymmetric information, incentive compatibility, imperfect competition, strategic complementarity, and scale economies led to the conclusion that a large set of market failures exist; such situations also imply government failure. Acocella, considers this complicated picture and provides a discussion of the different approaches to establishing social 'rankings' of the possible situations and the underlying principles. The arguments for and against different institutions are then analysed at a micro and macroeconomic level. The market and the government are recognised as imperfect, and thus complementary, institutions. Specific policy targets and instruments are considered in the areas of micro and macro-economic policy. Special attention is devoted to questions of policy management in an open economy. Finally, problems of domestic and international policy co-ordination are considered.

    • Very impressive breadth of coverage, covering theory and application in a way not readily available in any other text
    • A user-friendly approach, including a comprehensive index, end of chapter summaries, and clearly separated out technical and intuitive analysis, making for an ideal textbook
    • Very well received, and very well selling when first published in Italian
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Professor Nicola Acocella has provided an illuminating and challenging account of the foundations of economic policy. His analysis covers the established ground as well as providing new departures, the book is a rich addition to the existing literature.' Amartya Sen, Trinity College, Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521586382
    • length: 540 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 28 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • contains: 29 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    Part I. Defining Social Preferences:
    2. Individual preferences and social preferences
    3. The Pareto principle and 'new welfare economics'
    Part II. Social Choices, Government and the Market:
    4. Theories of justice, welfare functions and the social optimum
    5. Social preferences and institutions
    6. Market failures: microeconomic aspects
    7. Market failures: macroeconomic aspects
    Part III. Normative and Positive Theory of Economic Policy:
    8. The normative theory of economic policy
    9. 'Non-market' failures: elements of a positive theory of economic policy
    Part IV. Microeconomic Intervention:
    10. Microeconomic policies for efficiency
    11. Redistributive policies and optimal taxation
    12. Social choice and cost-benefit analysis
    Part V. Macroeconomic Intervention in a Closed Economy:
    13. Macroeconomic objectives and monetary policy
    14. Macroeconomic objectives and fiscal policy
    15. Incomes and price policies
    Part VI. Macroeconomic Intervention in an Open Economy:
    16. Monetary systems and exchange rate regimes
    17. Balance of payments policies
    18. Economic policies in an open economy
    Part VII. Problems of 'Regime' in Government Action, Domestic and International:
    19. Consistency in public choice

  • Author

    Nicola Acocella, Università degli Studi di Roma 'Tor Vergata'


    Brendan Jones

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