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What kind of state in our future? Fact and Conjecture in Vito Tanzi’s Government versus Markets


  • Richard Wagner



This is a review essay on Vito Tanzi’s Government versus Markets: The Changing Economic Role of the State. The bulk of this book looks backward on the relative growth of government from late in the 19th century until recent times when that growth seems to have stopped in many places. Tanzi also looks forward in speculating on possible qualitative changes in the character of state activity through substitution of regulation for taxation. Much wisdom is presented in these pages, and yet the book contains some significant conceptual shortcomings and lacunae due to its apparent embrace of the possibility of measurement without theory. All the same, the book poses significant challenges for scholarship in political economy and public economics. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Wagner, 2013. "What kind of state in our future? Fact and Conjecture in Vito Tanzi’s Government versus Markets," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 93-104, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:revaec:v:26:y:2013:i:1:p:93-104
    DOI: 10.1007/s11138-013-0202-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. N. G. Mankiw., 2009. "The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
    2. Ringa Raudla, 2010. "Governing budgetary commons: what can we learn from Elinor Ostrom?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 201-221, December.
    3. Jürgen G. Backhaus & Richard E. Wagner, 2005. "From Continental Public Finance to Public Choice: Mapping Continuity," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 37(5), pages 314-332, Supplemen.
    4. Giuseppe Eusepi & Richard E. Wagner, 2013. "Tax Prices in a Democratic Polity: The Continuing Relevance of Antonio de Viti de Marco," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 99-121, Spring.
    5. Peter Boettke, 2010. "Is the only form of ‘reasonable regulation’ self regulation?: Lessons from Lin Ostrom on regulating the commons and cultivating citizens," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 283-291, June.
    6. Richard E. Wagner, 2012. "The Social Construction of Theoretical Landscapes: Some Economics of Economic Theories," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(5), pages 1185-1204, November.
    7. Wagner, Richard E., 2012. "A macro economy as an ecology of plans," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 433-444.
    8. Monica Auteri & Richard Wagner, 2007. "The Organizational Architecture of Nonprofit Governance: Economic Calculation Within an Ecology of Enterprises," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 57-68, March.
    9. Vincent Ostrom, 1996. "Faustian bargains," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 303-308, December.
    10. Richard Wagner, 2012. "Viennese kaleidics: Why it’s liberty more than policy that calms turbulence," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 283-297, December.
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    More about this item


    Growth of government; Adolf Wagner; Wagner’s Law; Regulation as taxation; States as orders; Measurement without theory; JEL Codes H11; K20; L38; N40; P16;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K20 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - General
    • L38 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Policy
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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