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Handbook of Public Economics - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780444537591, 9780444537607

Handbook of Public Economics, Volume 5

1st Edition

Editors: Alan Auerbach Raj Chetty Martin Feldstein Emmanuel Saez
eBook ISBN: 9780444537607
Hardcover ISBN: 9780444537591
Imprint: North Holland
Published Date: 24th June 2013
Page Count: 496
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Table of Contents

  • Introduction to the Series
  • Preface
  • List of Contributors
  • Chapter 1. Charitable Giving
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Background: Facts and Figures on Charitable Giving
    • 3 Approach 1: Individuals
    • 4 Approach 2: The Charitable Sector as a Market
    • 5 Approach 3: Giving as a Social Act
    • 6 Approach 4: The Giver’s Mind
    • 7 Fundraising and the Giver’s Mind
    • 8 Conclusion
    • References
  • Chapter 2. Taxation and Development
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Perspectives on Taxation and Development
    • 3 Background Facts
    • 4 Framework
    • 5 Drivers of Change
    • 6 Conclusion
    • Acknowledgements
    • References
  • Chapter 3. Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Motivations for Social Insurance
    • 3 Design of Public Insurance Programs
    • 4 Challenges for Future Work
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Chapter 4. Urban Public Finance
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 The Functions and Powers of City Governments
    • 3 The Core Economics of Urban Government
    • 4 A Model of Local Government Spending and Finances
    • 5 The Financing and Provision of Core Urban Services
    • 6 Cities, Taxes, and Redistribution
    • 7 Cities, Investment, and Deferred Compensation
    • 8 Urban Political Economy
    • 9 Conclusion
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Chapter 5. The Theory of International Tax Competition and Coordination
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Uncoordinated Actions
    • 3 Coordination
    • 4 Broadening the Perspective
    • 5 Concluding Remarks
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Chapter 6. Taxation of Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Overview of Wealth and Estate Taxation in Practice
    • 3 Bequest Motives and Taxation
    • 4 Redistribution
    • 5 Behavioral Responses to Transfer Taxation
    • 6 Tax Avoidance Responses
    • 7 Other Topics
    • 8 Summary and Conclusions
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Chapter 7. Optimal Labor Income Taxation
    • 1 Introduction
    • 2 Background on Actual Tax Systems and Optimal Tax Theory
    • 3 Conceptual Background
    • 4 Optimal Linear Taxation
    • 5 Optimal Nonlinear Taxation
    • 6 Extensions
    • 7 Limits of the Welfarist Approach and Alternatives
    • Acknowledgments
    • References
  • Index


In the Handbook of Public Economics, vol. 5, top scholars provide context and order to new research about mechanisms that underlie both public finance theories and applications. These fundamental subjects follow the recent, steady movement away from rational decision-making and toward more personalized approaches to tax generation and expenditure, especially in terms of the use of psychological methods and financial incentives. Closely scrutinized subjects include new research in empirical (instead of theoretical) public finance, the methods for measuring taxes (both in revenue generation and expenditure), and the roles that taxes play in specific settings, such as emerging economies, urban settings, charitable giving, and among political entities (cities, counties, states, countries). Contributors look at both the "tax" and "expenditure" sides of public finance, emphasizing recent influences that psychology and philosophy have exerted in economics with articles on behavioral finance, charitable giving, and dynamic taxation. To a field enjoying rapid growth, their articles bring context and order, illuminating the mechanisms that underlie both public finance theories and applications.

Key Features

  • Editor Raj Chetty is the recipient of the 2013 John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economic Association
  • Focuses on new approaches to both revenue generation and expenditures in public finance
  • Presents coherent summaries of subjects in public economics that stretch from methodologies to applications
  • Makes details about public economics accessible to scholars in fields outside economics


Graduate students and professors worldwide working in all subdisciplines of economics and finance.


No. of pages:
© North Holland 2013
24th June 2013
North Holland
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"Editors…offer this research volume on a few key issues in public economics. The first chapter addresses charitable giving and explores its motivations from social, market, and tax perspectives. The relationship of tax structure to development and an investigation of social insurance theory and program design are presented next. Urban public finance receives a chapter, discussing the functions and spending flows of local governance.", February 2014
"The new Handbook is a worthy update to this essential series, covering important modern topics with thoughtful critical surveys written by economists whose research has greatly informed our understanding of these issues.  Reading this book is the most efficient (and pleasurable) way to travel to the frontier of public economics."--Joel Slemrod, University of Michigan
"Again the Handbook provides us, students and established scholars alike, with what we need -- balanced surveys of the frontier of public economics.  Each essay will help to define the pathway to the next advances in our understanding of what governments do, and can do, to improve society's economic performance.  Very valuable."--Robert Inman, University of Pennsylvania

Ratings and Reviews

About the Editors

Alan Auerbach

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California, Berkeley, USA

Raj Chetty

Affiliations and Expertise

Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA

Martin Feldstein

Affiliations and Expertise

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

Emmanuel Saez

Affiliations and Expertise

University of California, Berkeley, USA