How valuable to us are the activities of government? Public Goods and Private Wants explores psychological approaches to public economics in order to answer this question.
The contributions of economists and political scientists to the study of government spending are discussed, and subjective measures, largely derived from psychology, that could be used to evaluate government spending are considered. The author then uses empirical studies to explain how people value government goods and services, and what they appear to want the government to do. The results have implications for methods of valuing government services, the way people think about government spending and political processes.
This accessible and thought-provoking volume will be of interest to academics in the areas of economics, psychology and political science. Those concerned with government decision making will also find it of great value.
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Economics and Public Goods 3. Government Spending in Democracies 4. Quality of Life 5. Methods of Assessing Value 6. Psychophysical Scaling of Value 7. Taxation and its Relationship to Spending 8. Valuation and Knowledge of Cost 9. What Do People Want the Government to Undertake? 10. Conclusions References Index