Demand and Supply of Public Goods

Overview


Public-goods theory constituted a major element in James M. Buchanan’s research agenda throughout the 1960s. The Demand and Supply of Public Goods is a major part of that work.

At the time that Buchanan was elaborating on his theories of public goods, the prevailing trend in public economics was the emergence of public-expenditure theory, which attempted to form a comprehensive theory of the state around the notion of market failure.

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Overview


Public-goods theory constituted a major element in James M. Buchanan’s research agenda throughout the 1960s. The Demand and Supply of Public Goods is a major part of that work.

At the time that Buchanan was elaborating on his theories of public goods, the prevailing trend in public economics was the emergence of public-expenditure theory, which attempted to form a comprehensive theory of the state around the notion of market failure.

The Demand and Supply of Public Goods established Buchanan’s broad purpose of explicitly comparing market performance with political performance. As such, the book is an important part of Buchanan’s contractarian theory of the “productive state.”

Conceived originally as a series of lectures given at Cambridge University in 1961 and 1962, The Demand and Supply of Public Goods is written for students, but is in no way a textbook of dry pedagogy. Instead, as Geoffrey Brennan writes in the foreword, “What Buchanan provides here is a clear statement of the contractarian approach to public goods problems, very much in the ‘voluntary exchange’ tradition of Wicksell and Lindhal.”

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 will include:

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

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Product Details

Table of Contents


Foreword ix Preface xiii 1. A Methodological Introduction 3
2. Simple Exchange in a World of Equals 12
3. Simple Exchange in a World of Unequals 29
4. Pure and Impure Public Goods 48
5. Many Private Goods, Many Persons—The “Free-Rider' Problem 74
6. Many Public Goods, Many Persons—The World Without a Numeraire 96
7. The Publicness of Political Decisions 120
8. The Institutions of Fiscal Choice 142
9. Which Goods Should Be Public? 161
10. Toward a Positive Theory of Public Finance 180 Supplementary Reading Materials 191
Author Index 195
Subject Index 197
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