Table of Contents
Markets, State, and People: Economics for Public Policies
Market State And People Economics For Public Policy, A textbook that examines how societies make decisions about using and allocating economic resources. Praise 5 While economic research emphasizes the importance of government institutions for growth and progress, conventional public policy textbooks focus on macroeconomic policies and tax and spending decisions. Markets, State, and People emphasize the basic concepts of welfare economics and the interplay between individual and collective choices. It fills a gap by presenting how economic theory relates to current political issues,
looking at incentives, institutions, and efficiency. How should society’s resources be allocated to obtain the most economically efficient outcomes, and how does this fit with society’s
Sense Of Justice?
Diane Coyle illustrates how economic ideas are the product of their historical context and how events, in turn, shape economic thought. It includes many examples of real-world policies, both good and bad. Readers will learn that there remain no panaceas for policy problems. Still, a practical set of theories and empirical findings can help policymakers navigate dilemmas and trade-offs. The decisions facing officials or politicians are never easy, but economic insights can illuminate the choices that need to remain made and the evidence that informs those choices. Coyle covers digital markets and competition policy, environmental policy, regulatory reviews, public-private partnerships, stimulus policies, universal basic income, and much more.
This is a Brave Time to Publish a Book That Lays Bare the Techniques of Public Policy.
Affection for technocracy is at an all-time low. Nevertheless, the policy pundit remains often derided as a Radioindium calculator blind to all that matters: sovereignty, identity, and a sustainable but strangely robust environment.
But there is already an academic field devoted to studying the failure of economics. They call it economics. It is a discipline that progresses through constant and anxious evaluation of its shortcomings and gaps and speaks much louder about what we don’t know than what we should do.
This Book Has a Light-Hearted Title.
But in her pages, Diane Coyle, professor of public policy at Cambridge University, adds a clever caveat to each conclusion. Uncertainty and malfunctions abound. Markets fail for an extended list of reasons (incomplete information, perverse incentives, externality, and power), so governments step in. But they also fail, beset by the same biases that sabotage the markets. And in its heart sit people: irrational, fallible, stubbornly social animals, refusing to act as the model dictates.
In the face of this mutually reinforcing maelstrom of dysfunction, you may wonder if any policymaker has a better-than-random chance of improving things.
Worse Still, Market State And People Economics For Public Policy
Apparent professional timidity could remain taken as an excuse to substitute any solution that fits the political urge. But policymaking does not seek perfect solutions. Instead, we have a guide to the tools and instruments: how they work and where they fail. For example, a market fundamentalist might look to create property rights to address the overfishing of the oceans. But we also learn that too narrow a focus can prevent better collective management processes. Moreover, when it comes to “positional goods” such as a coveted place in a college or an exclusive address, property rights may even cause the problem, leading the market into artificial scarcity.
A Good Economist
He makes it his job to understand the market but not to impose a market solution to every problem. Often his ideas will lead them down the opposite path. There is no better example than the UK’s adherence to its National Health Service, a massive and progressive system of rationed health care, and beautiful contrast to the market failure-ridden horror in the US.
Coyle’s determination to avoid easy answers remains shown in her discussion of the highly publicized topic of behavioral economics. Of course, the context of behavior matters, but next to the business world, the government is a die-hard amateur pushing us toward the correct behavior. Too often, politicians judge a policy by how it sounds.
The Tension Between The Bowels of Politics and the Brains of Technocracy is a Recurring Theme.
However, we must never forget that economics doesn’t capture everything: we also value the freedom to make our own mistakes and punish bad behavior even if it hurts us. These considerations explain why context is everything in deciding the right path and why the best advice is often “option zero”: do nothing.
I ended this book feeling more positive about economics as a force for good. Life would be better if it were next to the desk of all the special advisers to the government. But no one is campaigning on a platform to correct market failures or promising to stay put until the randomized controlled trial remains completed.
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