Access your Project MUSE content using one of the login options below Close(X)
Browse Results For:
Abortion Policy in the States
Public Debt, Inequality, and the Intellectual Origins of the French Revolution
Ever since the French Revolution, Madame de Pompadour's comment, "Après moi, le déluge" (after me, the deluge), has looked like a callous if accurate prophecy of the political cataclysms that began in 1789. But decades before the Bastille fell, French writers had used the phrase to describe a different kind of selfish recklessness--not toward the flood of revolution but, rather, toward the flood of public debt. In Before the Deluge, Michael Sonenscher examines these fears and the responses to them, and the result is nothing less than a new way of thinking about the intellectual origins of the French Revolution.
In this nightmare vision of the future, many prerevolutionary observers predicted that the pressures generated by modern war finance would set off a chain of debt defaults that would either destroy established political orders or cause a sudden lurch into despotic rule. Nor was it clear that constitutional government could keep this possibility at bay. Constitutional government might make public credit more secure, but public credit might undermine constitutional government itself.
Before the Deluge examines how this predicament gave rise to a widespread eighteenth-century interest in figuring out how to establish and maintain representative governments able to realize the promise of public credit while avoiding its peril. By doing so, the book throws new light on a neglected aspect of modern political thought and on the French Revolution.
Behavioral economics questions the basic underpinnings of economic theory, showing that people often do not act consistently in their own self-interest when making economic decisions. While these findings have important theoretical implications, they also provide a new lens for examining public policies, such as taxation, public spending, and the provision of adequate pensions. How can people be encouraged to save adequately for retirement when evidence shows that they tend to spend their money as soon as they can? Would closer monitoring of income tax returns lead to more honest taxpayers or a more distrustful, uncooperative citizenry? Behavioral Public Finance, edited by Edward McCaffery and Joel Slemrod, applies the principles of behavioral economics to government's role in constructing economic and social policies of these kinds and suggests that programs crafted with rational participants in mind may require redesign. Behavioral Public Finance looks at several facets of economic life and asks how behavioral research can increase public welfare. Deborah A. Small, George Loewenstein, and Jeff Strnad note that public support for a tax often depends not only on who bears its burdens, but also on how the tax is framed. For example, people tend to prefer corporate taxes over sales taxes, even though the cost of both is eventually extracted from the consumer. James J. Choi, David Laibson, Brigitte C. Madrian, and Andrew Metrick assess the impact of several different features of 401(k) plans on employee savings behavior. They find that when employees are automatically enrolled in a retirement savings plan, they overwhelmingly accept the status quo and continue participating, while employees without automatic enrollment typically take over a year to join the saving plan. Behavioral Public Finance also looks at taxpayer compliance. While the classic economic model suggests that the low rate of IRS audits means far fewer people should voluntarily pay their taxes than actually do, John Cullis, Philip Jones, and Alan Lewis present new research showing that many people do not underreport their incomes even when the probability of getting caught is a mere one percent. Human beings are not always rational, utility-maximizing economic agents. Behavioral economics has shown how human behavior departs from the assumptions made by generations of economists. Now, Behavioral Public Finance brings the insights of behavioral economics to analysis of policies that affect us all.
Corruption in the European Union
As the European Union moved in the 1990s to a unified market and stronger common institutions, most observers assumed that the changes would reduce corruption. Aspects of the stronger EU promised to preclude-or at least reduce-malfeasance: regulatory harmonization, freer trade, and privatization of publicly owned enterprises. Market efficiencies would render corrupt practices more visible and less common.
In The Best System Money Can Buy, Carolyn M. Warner systematically and often entertainingly gives the lie to these assumptions and provides a framework for understanding the persistence of corruption in the Western states of the EU. In compelling case studies, she shows that under certain conditions, politicians and firms across Europe, chose to counter the increased competition they faced due to liberal markets and political reforms by resorting to corruption. More elections have made ever-larger funding demands on political parties; privatization has proved to be a theme park for economic crime and party profit; firms and politicians collude in many areas where EU harmonization has resulted in a net reduction in law-enforcement powers; and state-led "export promotion" efforts, especially in the armaments, infrastructure, and energy sectors, have virtually institutionalized bribery.
The assumptions that corruption and modernity are incompatible-or that Western Europe is somehow immune to corruption-simply do not hold, as Warner conveys through colorful analyses of scandals in which large corporations, politicians, and bureaucrats engage in criminal activity in order to facilitate mergers and block competition, and in which officials accept private payments for public services rendered. At the same time, the book shows the extent to which corruption is driven by the very economic and political reforms thought to decrease it.
Innovation and the Limits of Asia's Developmental State
After World War II, several late-developing countries registered astonishingly high growth rates under strong state direction, making use of smart investment strategies, turnkey factories, and reverse-engineering, and taking advantage of the postwar global economic boom. Among these economic miracles were postwar Japan and, in the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called Asian Tigers-Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan-whose experiences epitomized the analytic category of the "developmental state."
In Betting on Biotech, Joseph Wong examines the emerging biotechnology sector in each of these three industrial dynamos. They have invested billions of dollars in biotech industries since the 1990s, but commercial blockbusters and commensurate profits have not followed. Industrial upgrading at the cutting edge of technological innovation is vastly different from the dynamics of earlier practices in established industries.
The profound uncertainties of life-science-based industries such as biotech have forced these nations to confront a new logic of industry development, one in which past strategies of picking and making winners have given way to a new strategy of throwing resources at what remain very long shots. Betting on Biotech illuminates a new political economy of industrial technology innovation in places where one would reasonably expect tremendous potential-yet where billion-dollar bets in biotech continue to teeter on the brink of spectacular failure.
Russian Post-Communist Political Reform
For hundreds of years, dictators have ruled Russia. Do they still? In the late 1980s, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev launched a series of political reforms that eventually allowed for competitive elections, the emergence of an independent press, the formation of political parties, and the sprouting of civil society. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these proto-democratic institutions endured in an independent Russia. But did the processes unleashed by Gorbachev and continued under Russian President Boris Yeltsin lead eventually to liberal democracy in Russia? If not, what kind of political regime did take hold in post-Soviet Russia? And how has Vladimir Putin's rise to power influenced the course of democratic consolidation or the lack thereof? Between Dictatorship and Democracy seeks to give a comprehensive answer to these fundamental questions about the nature of Russian politics.
Asset Price Swings, Risk, and the Role of the State
In the wake of the global financial crisis that began in 2007, faith in the rationality of markets has lost ground to a new faith in their irrationality. The problem, Roman Frydman and Michael Goldberg argue, is that both the rational and behavioral theories of the market rest on the same fatal assumption--that markets act mechanically and economic change is fully predictable. In Beyond Mechanical Markets, Frydman and Goldberg show how the failure to abandon this assumption hinders our understanding of how markets work, why price swings help allocate capital to worthy companies, and what role government can and can't play.
The financial crisis, Frydman and Goldberg argue, was made more likely, if not inevitable, by contemporary economic theory, yet its core tenets remain unchanged today. In response, the authors show how imperfect knowledge economics, an approach they pioneered, provides a better understanding of markets and the financial crisis. Frydman and Goldberg deliver a withering critique of the widely accepted view that the boom in equity prices that ended in 2007 was a bubble fueled by herd psychology. They argue, instead, that price swings are driven by individuals' ever-imperfect interpretations of the significance of economic fundamentals for future prices and risk. Because swings are at the heart of a dynamic economy, reforms should aim only to curb their excesses.
Showing why we are being dangerously led astray by thinking of markets as predictably rational or irrational, Beyond Mechanical Markets presents a powerful challenge to conventional economic wisdom that we can't afford to ignore.
U.S. Science Policy in the Twenty-First Century
Science and technology are responsible for almost every advance in our modern quality of life. Yet science isn't just about laboratories, telescopes and particle accelerators. Public policy exerts a huge impact on how the scientific community conducts its work. Beyond Sputnik is a comprehensive survey of the field for use as an introductory textbook in courses and a reference guide for legislators, scientists, journalists, and advocates seeking to understand the science policy-making process. Detailed case studies---on topics from cloning and stem cell research to homeland security and science education---offer readers the opportunity to study real instances of policymaking at work. Authors and experts Homer A. Neal, Tobin L. Smith, and Jennifer B. McCormick propose practical ways to implement sound public policy in science and technology and highlight how these policies will guide the results of scientific discovery for years to come. Homer A. Neal is the Samuel A. Goudsmit Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Interim President Emeritus, and Vice President for Research Emeritus at the University of Michigan, and is a former member of the U.S. National Science Board. Tobin L. Smith is Associate Vice President for Federal Relations at the Association of American Universities. He was formerly Assistant Director of the University of Michigan and MIT Washington, DC, offices. Jennifer B. McCormick is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Ethics in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Mayo College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, and is the Associate Director of the Research Ethics Resource, part of the Mayo Clinic's NIH Clinical Translational Science Award research programs. GO BEYOND SPUTNIK ONLINE--Visit www.science-policy.net for the latest news, teaching resources, learning guides, and internship opportunities in the 21st-Century field of science policy. "Beyond Sputnik is a readable, concise, yet remarkably comprehensive introduction to contemporary science policy. It is devoid of 'wonkishness' yet serves the needs of policymakers and students alike. Because science and technology policy is of central importance in the twenty-first century this accessible volume is a godsend." ---Charles M. Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering and Vice Chair of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering "This highly researched book is a treasure trove for anyone concerned with science policy relating to such challenges as providing energy, preserving the environment, assuring healthcare, creating jobs, and more." ---Norman Augustine, retired Chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation and recipient of the 2008 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board "Science policy is a subject of growing importance in the United States, yet there has long been a vacuum among textbooks in the field. Beyond Sputnik fills it splendidly and will be greeted with enthusiasm by students and faculty alike. Even those who have practiced the art for years will learn from it." ---Albert Teich, Director of Science and Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science "Homer A. Neal, Tobin L. Smith, and Jennifer B. McCormick have written a landmark work calling for a national effort to restore our nation's power in the fields of science, energy, and education, as we did in the remarkable year following Sputnik. The next preident should read Beyond Sputnik and accept this call to action as did President Eisenhower." ---Ambassador David M. Abshire, President of the Center for the Study of the Presidency, Cofounder and Vice Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and President of the Richard Lounsbery Foundation "At last we have a text that tells the story from where A. Hunter Dupree left off; an excellent core text for courses in science and technology policy, DC policymakers, and anyone who needs to get up to speed in the field . . . The book that we have all been waiting for." ---Christopher T. Hill, Professor of Public Policy and Technology, George Mason University