Talk:Public economics

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Public Economics Wikipedia Article[edit]

There is plenty to work with to complete the rest of the page. The Cost-Benefit Analysis section and Pigouvian Tax sections work well as they are. I think that Paul Samuelson's classic exposition of public goods (and the free rider problem for that matter) in "The Pure Theory of Public Expenditure" might help to better clarify the public goods section. There should only be a brief discussion of Ludwig von Mises' book in the public production section and the rest of the section should be devoted to Niskanen's work. The Irving Fisher section could talk about his advocacy of the consumption tax (in the two articles listed in the further reading section and in his book, Constructive Income Taxation: A Proposal for Reform). The first sentence from the fiscal federalism section is okay, but it needs to be expanded (there should be some discussion of government grants and of the Tiebout hypothesis). The two sources listed for the deficit finance section should give whoever writes it plenty to work with. The sources listed in the further reading section are the classics in the field. I started reorganizing this page because it was a disaster when I first went to it and I thought that it would be a good excuse to work on my writing skills. At the moment though, I don't have the time to finish it. Good luck for whoever want to try to finish it though...

Re: Government Failure and Market Failure[edit]

I took this out because public goods and externalities are dealt with below, and macroeconomic instability is still dealt with in this new section. My thinking is that a discussion of market failure and government failure is too basic and formulaic. Plus it is because public economics typically deals with microeconomics that I think it needs to be pulled back into the realm of macroeconomics (See the Dreze article for a discussion of the role of macroeconomics in public economics. All of the other articles and the book listed are classics in this sub-field within public economics (The book is pulled from Dreze's article and the articles are pulled from Atkinson's Modern Public Finance, which Dreze lists as a classic reference book on public economics). I think that with these four articles there is plenty to build on for this section, and it allows one to cover the major areas of this sub-field. If someone decides to stick with the initial section topic, they should base it on "The Anatomy of Market Failure" by Francis M. Bator and "The Unseen Hand in Government" by Roland N. McKean, the classic sources on that topic, not on those six sections listed previously, which in my opinion obscure the narrative of the page.

Re: Expenditure Programs[edit]

I chose to remove this section for several reasons: 1) There is so much in this section that it would take several pages to fill 2) There are already sub-fields within economics such as health economics, education economics, defense economics... etc... There is a classic article on social insurance (Martin Feldstein, 1974) for anyone who wants to learn about that (I will include links to those pages as a courtesy to the author who put this section up) 3) Having this section adheres a little bit too closely to the formula that Stiglitz uses in his textbook. There is enough on this page now that by removing this section I am not destroying the entire page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.49.220.62 (talk) 19:19, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

Preference revelation[edit]

Rubin removed the section that I created for the preference revelation problem. The explanation he provided was "Somewhat relevent, but much too long". Much too long? Is that a valid reason for removing extremely well cited, relevant and very important content? --Xerographica (talk) 09:57, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Assuming that your addition were "well-cited, relevant, and very important", it would still be undue weight. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 11:01, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It would be undue weight...based on...what? --Xerographica (talk) 11:13, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It's "very important" ... based on ... what?
Actually, a much shorter section would be appropriate here; I don't think any mention would be appropriate in the other two articles. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 11:29, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It's "very important" based on the reliable sources. Clearly and obviously, my argument is based on numerous reliable sources that I've read. What is your argument based on? --Xerographica (talk) 21:40, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not "important" based on the sources you've mentioned. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:45, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Please cite specific passages. --Xerographica (talk) 22:54, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Public choice[edit]

I'd like to see a link to public choice theory and an explanation of how they are different. So far I gather that public choice theory is included under "Public economics" somehow.J1812 (talk) 23:52, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Dr. Adam's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Adam has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:


(1) The test states "This subject encompasses a host of topics including market failures, externalities, and the creation and implementation of government policy...". Typically public economics deal with market failures in the form of externalities and public goods. Other types of market failures (e.g. market power) are beyond the scope of public economics and more in line with the scope of Industrial Organization. So it is more accurate to state "This subject encompasses a host of topics including market failures (in the form of public goods and externalities)and the creation and implementation of government policy...".

(2) Examples of topics covered are taxa incidence, optimal taxation and the theory of public goods and externalities. In the paragraph of Public goods I would also suggest adding some text on externalities, since public goods are an extreme form of externalities. (3) The Diamond- Mirlees Efficiency Theorem is quite misleading. Even though it is incorporates text from the paper, it is misleading in the present context. I would explain their paper just by stating that it provides conditions for optimal tax policy in a second best environment, and shows that production efficiency is attainable even when lump- sum taxation is not available. (4) Pigouvian taxes section discusses the issue of externalities and the Coase theorem. Pigou taxes are a way to deal with externalities and so is the Coase theorem. In my opinion it is better to have a paragraph about externalities, where pigouvian taxes and the coase theorem are discussed as a way to deal with externalities.


We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

Dr. Adam has published scholarly research which seems to be relevant to this Wikipedia article:


  • Reference : Adam, Antonis & Delis, Manthos D & Kammas, Pantelis, 2012. "Fiscal decentralization and public sector efficiency: Evidence from OECD countries," MPRA Paper 36889, University Library of Munich, Germany.

ExpertIdeas (talk) 00:39, 11 September 2015 (UTC)