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Public Finance in Democratic Process: Fiscal…
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Public Finance in Democratic Process: Fiscal Institutions and Individual…

by James M. Buchanan

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865972192, Hardcover)

Public Finance in Democratic Process is James M. Buchanan’s monumental work that outlines the dynamics of individual choice as it is displayed in the process of public finance.

Buchanan is perhaps nowhere more clearly a disciple of the great Swedish economist Knut Wicksell than he is in the underlying principles of this seminal work. Specifically, he elaborates on these three central Wicksellian themes:
1.Analysis of market failure in the provision of public goods.
2.The insistence on conceiving policy decisions as the outcome of political processes.
3.The necessity of treating the tax and expense sides of the budget as interconnected.

Echoing Wicksell’s antipathy to the “benevolent despot” model of government, Buchanan lays out in this book a starting point for modern public-choice analysis. Recognizing the pathbreaking work he is about to begin, Buchanan opens his preface by stating, “Fiscal theory is normally discussed in a frame of reference wholly different from that adopted in this book. This dramatic shift of emphasis . . . . requires that I consider the processes through which individual choices are transmitted, combined, and transformed into collective outcomes. Careful research in this area is in its infancy, and the necessary reliance on crude, unsophisticated models underscores the exploratory nature of the work.”

According to Geoffrey Brennan in the foreword, “Public Finance in Democratic Process is a work more hospitable to public finance orthodoxy and could be treated as an extension (albeit an important one) of the conventional approach.”

James M. Buchanan is an eminent economist who won the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986 and is considered one of the greatest scholars of liberty in the twentieth century.

The entire series includes:

Volume 1: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty
Volume 2: Public Principles of Public Debt
Volume 3: The Calculus of Consent
Volume 4: Public Finance in Democratic Process
Volume 5: The Demand and Supply of Public Goods
Volume 6: Cost and Choice
Volume 7: The Limits of Liberty
Volume 8: Democracy in Deficit
Volume 9: The Power to Tax
Volume 10: The Reason of Rules
Volume 11: Politics by Principle, Not Interest
Volume 12: Economic Inquiry and Its Logic
Volume 13: Politics as Public Choice
Volume 14: Debt and Taxes
Volume 15: Externalities and Public Expenditure Theory
Volume 16: Choice, Contract, and Constitutions
Volume 17: Moral Science and Moral Order
Volume 18: Federalism, Liberty, and the Law
Volume 19: Ideas, Persons, and Events
Volume 20: Indexes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:36 -0400)

Studies of public finance, as traditionally developed, have analyzed the effects of fiscal institutions on the market-choice behavior of individuals and firms, but this book takes a different approach. It analyzes the effects of fiscal institutions on the political-choice behavior of individuals as they participate variously in the decision-making processes of democracies.What effect will the form of a new tax have on individuals' attitudes toward more or less public spending? To what extent does the private sector--public sector mix depend on the way in which tax payments are made? How do the various taxes affect the fiscal consciousness of individual citizens? These are questions that have been ignored for the most part. They are, nonetheless, important and worthy of examination. This book is an attempt to provide some provisional answers. By the use of simplified models of existing tax institutions, Buchanan predicts the effects that these exert on individual behavior in the area of political choice. The relative effects of direct and indirect taxes, the "old tax--new tax" distinction, the effects of fiscal earmarking, the effects of unbalanced budgets -- these are a few of the topics examined.Before these questions can be fully answered, research must be conducted to find out just how much individuals know about the taxes they pay and the benefits they receive. Comparatively little research of this kind has been completed, but the author devotes a chapter to a careful review of the present state of this sort of research.Individuals' choice among alternative fiscal institutions is examined in the second part of the book. If given the opportunity, how would the individual choose to pay his or her taxes? Progressive income taxes, excise taxes, and public debt are analyzed in terms of this question. Because of its interdisciplinary approach, this imaginative study will be of interest to both economists and political scientists.… (more)

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Liberty Fund, Inc

2 editions of this book were published by Liberty Fund, Inc.

Editions: 0865972206, 0865972192

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