Economics & Finance

Markets, State, and People: Economics for Public Policy

A textbook that examines how societies reach decisions about the use and allocation of economic resources


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Jan 14, 2020
66 b/w illus. 19 tables
Economics & Finance
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While economic research emphasizes the importance of governmental institutions for growth and progress, conventional public policy textbooks tend to focus on macroeconomic policies and on tax-and-spend decisions. Markets, State, and People stresses the basics of welfare economics and the interplay between individual and collective choices. It fills a gap by showing how economic theory relates to current policy questions, with a look at incentives, institutions, and efficiency. How should resources in society be allocated for the most economically efficient outcomes, and how does this sit with society’s sense of fairness?

Diane Coyle illustrates the ways economic ideas are the product of their historical context, and how events in turn shape economic thought. She includes many real-world examples of policies, both good and bad. Readers will learn that there are no panaceas for policy problems, but there is a practical set of theories and empirical findings that can help policymakers navigate dilemmas and trade-offs. The decisions faced by officials or politicians are never easy, but economic insights can clarify the choices to be made and the evidence that informs those choices. Coyle covers issues such as digital markets and competition policy, environmental policy, regulatory assessments, public-private partnerships, nudge policies, universal basic income, and much more.

Markets, State, and People offers a new way of approaching public economics.

  • A focus on markets and institutions
  • Policy ideas in historical context
  • Real-world examples
  • How economic theory helps policymakers tackle dilemmas and choices