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The Other Invisible Hand

Author: Julian Le Grand
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400828005
Size: 13.71 MB
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How can we ensure high-quality public services such as health care and education? Governments spend huge amounts of public money on public services such as health, education, and social care, and yet the services that are actually delivered are often low quality, inefficiently run, unresponsive to their users, and inequitable in their distribution. In this book, Julian Le Grand argues that the best solution is to offer choice to users and to encourage competition among providers. Le Grand has just completed a period as policy advisor working within the British government at the highest levels, and from this he has gained evidence to support his earlier theoretical work and has experienced the political reality of putting public policy theory into practice. He examines four ways of delivering public services: trust; targets and performance management; "voice"; and choice and competition. He argues that, although all of these have their merits, in most situations policies that rely on extending choice and competition among providers have the most potential for delivering high-quality, efficient, responsive, and equitable services. But it is important that the relevant policies be appropriately designed, and this book provides a detailed discussion of the principal features that these policies should have in the context of health care and education. It concludes with a discussion of the politics of choice.

Motivation Agency And Public Policy

Author: Julian Le Grand
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0199266999
Size: 26.31 MB
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"Uses a detailed empirical examination of policies in health services, education, social security and taxation to illustrate how policies can be designed to give the proper balance of motivation and agency." - cover.

Government Paternalism

Author: Julian Le Grand
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400866294
Size: 20.26 MB
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Should governments save people from themselves? Do governments have the right to influence citizens' behavior related to smoking tobacco, eating too much, not saving enough, drinking alcohol, or taking marijuana—or does this create a nanny state, leading to infantilization, demotivation, and breaches in individual autonomy? Looking at examples from both sides of the Atlantic and around the world, Government Paternalism examines the justifications for, and the prevalence of, government involvement and considers when intervention might or might not be acceptable. Building on developments in philosophy, behavioral economics, and psychology, Julian Le Grand and Bill New explore the roles, boundaries, and responsibilities of the government and its citizens. Le Grand and New investigate specific policy areas, including smoking, saving for pensions, and assisted suicide. They discuss legal restrictions on risky behavior, taxation of harmful activities, and subsidies for beneficial activities. And they pay particular attention to "nudge" or libertarian paternalist proposals that try to change the context in which individuals make decisions so that they make the right ones. Le Grand and New argue that individuals often display "reasoning failure": an inability to achieve the ends that they set themselves. Such instances are ideal for paternalistic interventions—for though such interventions might impinge on autonomy, the impact can be outweighed by an improvement in well-being. Government Paternalism rigorously considers whether the state should guide citizen decision making in positive ways and if so, how this should be achieved.

Slapped By The Invisible Hand

Author: Gary B. Gorton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199742110
Size: 26.79 MB
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Originally written for a conference of the Federal Reserve, Gary Gorton's "The Panic of 2007" garnered enormous attention and is considered by many to be the most convincing take on the recent economic meltdown. Now, in Slapped by the Invisible Hand, Gorton builds upon this seminal work, explaining how the securitized-banking system, the nexus of financial markets and instruments unknown to most people, stands at the heart of the financial crisis. Gorton shows that the Panic of 2007 was not so different from the Panics of 1907 or of 1893, except that, in 2007, most people had never heard of the markets that were involved, didn't know how they worked, or what their purposes were. Terms like subprime mortgage, asset-backed commercial paper conduit, structured investment vehicle, credit derivative, securitization, or repo market were meaningless. In this superb volume, Gorton makes all of this crystal clear. He shows that the securitized banking system is, in fact, a real banking system, allowing institutional investors and firms to make enormous, short-term deposits. But as any banking system, it was vulnerable to a panic. Indeed the events starting in August 2007 can best be understood not as a retail panic involving individuals, but as a wholesale panic involving institutions, where large financial firms "ran" on other financial firms, making the system insolvent. An authority on banking panics, Gorton is the ideal person to explain the financial calamity of 2007. Indeed, as the crisis unfolded, he was working inside an institution that played a central role in the collapse. Thus, this book presents the unparalleled and invaluable perspective of a top scholar who was also a key insider.

The Darwin Economy

Author: Robert H. Frank
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 0691156689
Size: 49.87 MB
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Argues that ecologist Charles Darwin's understanding of competition describes economic reality far more accurately than economist Adam Smith's theories ever did.

Beyond The Invisible Hand

Author: Kaushik Basu
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400836271
Size: 49.39 MB
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One of the central tenets of mainstream economics is Adam Smith's proposition that, given certain conditions, self-interested behavior by individuals leads them to the social good, almost as if orchestrated by an invisible hand. This deep insight has, over the past two centuries, been taken out of context, contorted, and used as the cornerstone of free-market orthodoxy. In Beyond the Invisible Hand, Kaushik Basu argues that mainstream economics and its conservative popularizers have misrepresented Smith's insight and hampered our understanding of how economies function, why some economies fail and some succeed, and what the nature and role of state intervention might be. Comparing this view of the invisible hand with the vision described by Kafka--in which individuals pursuing their atomistic interests, devoid of moral compunction, end up creating a world that is mean and miserable--Basu argues for collective action and the need to shift our focus from the efficient society to one that is also fair. Using analytic tools from mainstream economics, the book challenges some of the precepts and propositions of mainstream economics. It maintains that, by ignoring the role of culture and custom, traditional economics promotes the view that the current system is the only viable one, thereby serving the interests of those who do well by this system. Beyond the Invisible Hand challenges readers to fundamentally rethink the assumptions underlying modern economic thought and proves that a more equitable society is both possible and sustainable, and hence worth striving for. By scrutinizing Adam Smith's theory, this impassioned critique of contemporary mainstream economics debunks traditional beliefs regarding best economic practices, self-interest, and the social good.

Education Plc

Author: Stephen J. Ball
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113414900X
Size: 67.34 MB
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Is the privatisation of state education defendable? Did the public sector ever provide a fair education for all learners? In Education plc, Stephen Ball provides a comprehensive, analytic and empirical account of the privatisation of education. He questions the kind of future we want for education and what role privatisation and the private sector may have in that future. Using policy sociology to describe and critically analyse changes in policy, policy technologies and policy regimes, he looks at the ethical and democratic impacts of these changes and raises the following questions: Is there a legitimacy for privatisation based on the convergence of interests between business and the ‘third way’ state? Is the extent and value of private participation in public education misunderstood? How is the selling of private company services linked to the remodelling of schools? Why have the technical and political issues of privatisation been considered but ethical issues almost totally neglected? What is happening here, beyond mere technical changes in the form of public service delivery? Is education policy being spoken by new voices? Drawing upon extensive documentary research and interviews with senior executives from the leading ‘education services industry’ companies, the author challenges preconceptions about privatisation. He concludes that blanket defence of the public sector as it was, over and against the inroads of privatisation, is untenable, and that there is no going back to a past in which the public sector as a whole worked well and worked fairly in the interests of all learners, because there was no such past. This book breaks new ground and builds on Stephen Ball’s previous work on education policy. It should appeal to those researching and studying in the fields of social policy, policy analysis, sociology of education, education research and social economics.

The Rational Optimist

Author: Matt Ridley
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780062025371
Size: 42.40 MB
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Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair. This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.