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Forty Years of Public Economics : A Personal Perspective

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  • DREZE , Jacques H.

    ()
    (CORE, Université catholique de Louvain, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Abstract

This paper presents a personal perspective on the field of public economics, as I have seen it evolve over the past forty years. Starting in the early fifties, microeconomic theory invaded the age-old field of public finance. A central core of this work consists in deriving general qualitative formulae, within the general equilibrium model extended to encompass a public sector, public goods and taxation. That central development is flanked on one side by implementable solutions to practical problems (I refer in particular to public utility pricing, road pricing and auction design) , on the other side by the development of a rich abstract framework (I refer to equilibrium with increasing returns, state-contingent contracts, priority service contracts, ... ). The two flanks should come together, as they did in the early fifties when the theoretical developments grew out of practical applications. Yet, few economists succeed in creatively linking theory to real problems, and our professional organisation fails to promote adequately such contributions and their authors. Next to this emphasis on the interplay of theory and applications, I discuss briefly the success of public economics, its fragmentation into subfields and its relation to macroeconomics. The writing of this paper was prompted by my participation in editing a volume of selected papers by William Vickrey, on his 80th birthday. Frequent references are made to his work, which is exemplary of the perspective presented here.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 1994075.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 1994
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:1994075

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  1. Hausman, Jerry A & Poterba, James M, 1987. "Household Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 101-19, Summer.
  2. Dreze, Jacques H. & Arrow, Kenneth & Atkinston, Anthony B. & Basu, Kaushik & Honkapohja, Seppo & Krueger, Anne & Morales, Juan-Antonio & Stern, Nicholas, 1994. "Report of the IEA Committee on a new School of Economics and Economic Development (SEED) in the Third World," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-18, September.
  3. TULKENS, Henry, . "Dynamic processes for public goods. An institution-oriented survey," CORE Discussion Papers RP -333, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Herbert E. Scarf, 1994. "The Allocation of Resources in the Presence of Indivisibilities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1068, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Bohm, Peter, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 135-151, July.
  6. Sandmo, Agnar, 1983. "Leif Johansen's contribution to public economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 317-324, August.
  7. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  8. Boyes, William J & Happel, Stephen K, 1989. "Auctions as an Allocation Mechanism in Academia: The Case of Faculty Offices," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 37-40, Summer.
  9. Edward Clarke, 1971. "Multipart pricing of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 17-33, September.
  10. Peter Bohm, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Framed Field Experiments 00129, The Field Experiments Website.
  11. William Vickrey, 1961. "Counterspeculation, Auctions, And Competitive Sealed Tenders," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 16(1), pages 8-37, 03.
  12. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  13. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  14. William Vickrey, 1948. "Some Objections to Marginal-Cost Pricing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 218.
  15. Theodore Groves & Martin Loeb, 1974. "Incentives and Public Inputs," Discussion Papers 29, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Richard Arnott, 1990. "A Temporal and Spatial Equilibrium Analysis of Commuter Parking," Discussion Papers 884, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  17. Samuelson, P. A., 1986. "Theory of optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 137-143, July.
  18. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  19. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Elena Tudor, 2011. "Administrative Services Public Market," Annals of University of Craiova - Economic Sciences Series, University of Craiova, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 1(39), pages 100-109.
  2. Richard Arnott, 1998. "William Vickrey: Contributions to Public Policy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 93-113, February.
  3. Agnar Sandmo, 1999. "Asymmetric Information and Public Economics: The Mirrlees-Vickrey Nobel Prize," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 165-180, Winter.
  4. Pestieau, P., . "The current state and future directions of public finance," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1116, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. David, Laurent & Le Breton, Michel & Merillon, Olivier, 2007. "Kolm as a Contributor to Public Utility Pricing, Second Best Culture and the Theory of Regulation," IDEI Working Papers 490, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  6. Shoup, Donald C., 2004. "The ideal source of local public revenue," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 753-784, November.
  7. World Bank, 2005. "Primer on Demand-Side Management : With an Emphasis on Price-Responsive Programs," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8252, The World Bank.
  8. Oliver E. Williamson, 2010. "Transaction Cost Economics: The Natural Progression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 673-90, June.
  9. Mongin, P., 1999. "Normes et jugements de valeur en economie normative," Papers 99-20, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  10. Guillem López i Casasnovas & David Casado i Marín, . "Análisis prospectivo de la oferta de servicios públicos en España," Studies on the Spanish Economy 28, FEDEA.
  11. David, Laurent & Le Breton, Michel & Merillon, Olivier, 2007. "Public Utility Pricing and Capacity Choice with Stochastic Demand," IDEI Working Papers 489, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.

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