Public Policy and the Public Interest

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-08-23
  • Publisher: Routledge

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As a book on public policy, this book is unique in addressing explicitly the role of human nature. Only with a good understanding of human nature can policy makers address their foremost needs and anticipate how people may respond to specific designs in policy. This way policy makers can avoid "unintended consequences." The book also provides a new perspective on the meaning of public interest, which is based on intellectual roots dating back to J.S.Mill and more recently Harsanyi and Rawls. Traditionally, economists have referred to either the Hicksian criterion or the Kaldorian criterion as the yardstick to whether a policy is welfare enhancing, not realizing that both of these criteria fail abjectly in producing a convincing test for welfare improvement. This is because ex post, typically some people will gain and some people will lose from any policy. The author argues for an alternative, ex antewelfare increase criterion that is based on how people would assess a policy if they were completely impartial and totally ignored their personal interests. It applies the principles to key policy concerns such as health policy, tort law reform, education and cultural policy, and pension reform. The healthcare reform proposals in the book illustrate the application of the principles. The author proposes a basic protection plan under which standard basic healthcare services are priced the same whether they are provided by public or private caregivers#xE2;#xAC;#x1D;at levels that can contain both demand side and supply side moral hazard. Annual eligible healthcare expenses are capped to alleviate worries. A "Lifetime Healthcare Supplement" that includes an element of risk sharing adds to patients#xE2;#xAC;" choice and protection without compromising fiscal sustainability.

Table of Contents

List of figuresp. ix
List of tablesp. x
Foreword 1p. xi
Foreword 2p. xiii
Foreword 3p. xvi
Prefacep. xx
Introduction: government as servant of the peoplep. 1
The theory of public policy designp. 19
What makes good public policyp. 21
Human nature and public policyp. 35
Institutional choice as ex ante choicep. 54
Risk managementp. 77
Health care pricing and financing: in search of a better modelp. 79
The rule of law, tort law reform, and legal aidp. 94
Bank deposit insurancep. 108
Demographics and public pensionsp. 118
Resource allocation and redistributionp. 131
Government or market?p. 133
Education and cultural policyp. 143
Taxes, social safety net, and redistributionp. 157
Public policy and "ecology" of the economyp. 169
"Economic Ecology": the case of the Great Depression of the 1930sp. 171
The global financial tsunami of 2008p. 181
How a misguided housing policy can cause a deep recession: the case of Hong Kongp. 196
Public policy in the new millenniump. 211
Notesp. 234
Bibliographyp. 244
Indexp. 254
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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