This book explains and assesses the ways in which micro, welfare and benefit-cost economists view the world of public policy. In general terms, microeconomic concepts and models can be seen to appear regularly in the work of political scientists, sociologists and psychologists. As a consequence, these and related concepts and models have now had sufficient time to influence strongly and to extend the range of policy options available to government departments. The central focus of this book is the 'cross-over' from economic modelling to policy implementation, which remains obscure and uncertain. The author outlines the importance of a wider knowledge of microeconomics for improving the effects and orientation of public policy. He also provides a critique of some basic economic assumptions, notably the 'consumer sovereignty principle'. Within this context the reader is in a better position to understand the 'marvellous insights and troubling blindnesses' of economists where often what is controversial politically is not so controversial among economists.
Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; Part I. Useful Concepts: 2. Opportunity cost; 3. Marginalism; 4. Economic incentives; Part II. Government and Markets, Efficiency and Equity: 5. Government and the economy; 6. Economists and equity; 7. Externalities and the government agenda; 8. Benefit - cost analysis; Part III. The Limits of Economics: 9. The economist's consumer and individual well-being; 10. A second look at externalities; 11. Representatives, deliberation, and political leadership; 12. Conclusion; Notes; name index; Subject index.