There is a long-standing difference amongst public economists
between those who think that collective choice must be formally
acknowledged, and those who derive their policy recommendations
from a social planning framework in which politics plays no role.
The purpose of this book is to contribute to a meaningful dialogue
between these two groups, in the belief that the future of both
political economy and of normative public finance lies somewhere
between the two approaches. Some of the specific questions
addressed in the book include: does public finance need political
economy? Should collective choice play a role in the standard of
reference used in normative public finance? What is a "failure" in
a non-market or policy process? And what have we learned about the
theory and practice of public finance from three decades of
empirical research on public choice? The book also provides a
practitioner's view of the political economy of redistribution.