Nobel Prize winner the late William Vickrey was one of the truly important figures in contemporary economics. Over the past fifty-five years he has published several books and some 140 papers scattered over many journals. This book offers a thoughtful selection from these papers, organised so as to bring out the scope and yet the unity of the work. Vickrey has the unique distinction of having contributed, often seminally and always operationally, to all major branches of public economics. The papers collected here cover social choice and allocation mechanisms, taxation, pricing in public utilities and in urban transportation, urban economics, and macroeconomic policies. Each topic is introduced by one of the four editors, and the book is completed with a full annotated bibliography of Vickrey's work. For the first time, we have convenient access to a set of important, creative and stimulating contributions, which have helped shape the modern field of public economics. This is a fascinating overview of the field and of the life-time work of a great economist.
• High profile author, 1996 Nobel prizewinner, untimely death • A representative collection of Vickrey's work for the first time conveniently accessible in a single volume • Topical introductions to the major branches of public economics by the four, very well-known, editors • Contains a full annotated bibliography of the lifetime work of a great economist
Introduction: William Vickrey Jacques Drèze and Richard Arnott; Part I. Social Choice and Allocation Mechanisms: Introduction Kenneth Arrow; 1. Measuring marginal utility by reactions to risk; 2. Utility, strategy and social decision rules; 3. Counterspeculation, auctions and competitive sealed tenders; 4. Auctions and bidding games; Part II. Taxation: Introduction Anthony Atkinson; 5. Averaging of income for income tax purposes; 6. Cumulative averaging after thirty years; 7. An integrated successions tax; 8. Expenditure, capital gains and the basis of progressive taxation; 9. The problems of progression; Part III. Marginal Cost Pricing: Introduction Jacques Drèze; 10. Marginal and average cost pricing; 11. Some objections to marginal cost pricing; 12. Responsive pricing of public utility services; 13. Airline overbooking: some further solutions; Part IV. Pricing Urban Transportation: Introduction Richard Arnott; 14. A proposal for revising New York's subway fare structure; 15. Pricing in urban and suburban transport; 16. Congestion theory and transport investment; Part V. Urban Economics: Introduction Richard Arnott; 17. The city as a firm; 18. General and specific financing of urban services; 19. The impact on land values of taxing building; Part VI. Macroeconomic Policy: Introduction Jacques Drèze; 20. The optimum trend of prices; 21. Design as a market anti-inflation program; 22. Necessary and optimum government debt; 23. Today's tasks for economists; Part VII. Miscellany: Introduction Richard Arnott; 24. Resources distribution patterns and the classification of families; 25. On the prevention of gerrymandering; 26. One economist's view of philanthropy; Bibliography of William Vickrey.
'Bill Vickrey is an economist's economist; not only an original and creative theorist but, wonder of wonders, inventor of brilliant ways of applying those theories. While many difficult selection choices had to be made, the best known of Vickrey's pieces - including, for example, the famous 'Counterspeculation, auctions …', 'Some objections to marginal cost pricing' articles, and the remarkable ' … New York's subway fare structure' proposal - are all here together with a fine sampling of other valuable contributions. The volume also contains helpful introductions, by an all-star cast of economists, to all the major categories of Vickrey's professional work.' Jack Hirshleifer, University of California, Los Angeles