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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid account of public goods provision, 21 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Economics of the Welfare State (Paperback)
The title of this book is IMO somewhat misleading - but only by understatement. Barr examines the role of the state in the provision of public goods, which free markets fail to produce in optimum quantities or to allocate efficiently. Early on he gives the standard, neo-Pigovian analysis of the characteristics of public goods and then deals with specific public goods such as defence, education and health services. The emphasis, particularly in health services, is to consider payment, provision (not necessarily by the same actor) and the consumption decision. The result is an insightful view of the underlying economic mechanisms. In particular Barr sticks rigorously to positive aspects of the issues and scrupulously avoids normative discussion - a welcome change from the pseudo-positive but crypto-normative approach that one gets from many neoclassical economists. Anyone concerned with understanding the economics of public service provision should read this book - because they don't come much better!
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