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Public or Private Goods?

Redefining Res Publica Edited by Brigitte Unger, Utrecht University School of Economics, the Netherlands and former Director, Institute of Economic and Social Research WSI in Dusseldorf, Germany, Daan van der Linde, Utrecht University School of Economics, the Netherlands and Michael Getzner, Center of Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, Department of Spatial Planning, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
The book explores the core public tasks that the state has traditionally provided but which increasingly are being privatized and subsumed by the private sector. The night-watchman state role of providing security is instead offered by private prisons and security guards. Legitimized by the argument of efficiency gains, social security including public housing, pensions, unemployment insurance and health care are all being gradually privatized. This book argues that on the basis of efficiency, morality and equality there is still an overwhelming need for public intervention – the res publica. Although the state still funds and regulates core domains, it provides fewer and fewer visible goods. The authors show how this apparent invisibility of the state presents serious challenges for both income equality and democracy.
Extent: 304 pp
Hardback Price: $145.00 Web: $130.50
Publication Date: 2017
ISBN: 978 1 78536 954 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Public Finance
  • Public Sector Economics
Legitimized by the arguments of efficiency gains, public housing, pensions, unemployment insurance and health care are all being gradually privatized. In many countries, even the state’s ‘night-watchmen’ role of providing security is offered by private prisons and security guards. In the face of these and other developments, this book argues that on the basis of efficiency, morality and equality there is still an overwhelming need for public intervention – the res publica.

Public or Private Goods? brings together leading scholars from various disciplines including economics, sociology, political science, geography and spatial planning. The book explores core public tasks that the state has traditionally provided but which are increasingly privatized and subsumed into the private sector. For example, although the state still funds and regulates core domains, it provides fewer and fewer visible goods. The authors show how this apparent invisibility of the state presents serious challenges for both income equality and democracy.

This thoughtful interdisciplinary book will appeal to advanced students and academics in political science, public sector economics and public finance. It will also provide stimulating reading for politicians, policymakers and anyone interested in the provision of public services.
Contributors: F. Blank, J. Ferwerda, M. Getzner, L. Groot, G. Gutheil-Knopp-Kirchwald, J. Kadi, T. Knijn, I. Koetsier, J. Lewis, B. Unger, D. van der Linde, K. van Egmond, F. van Waarden, G. Withalm
Contents:

Foreword
1. Introduction
Brigitte Unger, Loek Groot and Daan van der Linde

2. Value Based Demarcation Between the Public and the Private Domain
Klaas van Egmond

Part I Traditional Core Tasks of the State: Security
3. The Fight against Money Laundering: A Public Task?
Joras Ferwerda

4. Natural Disasters and (Future) Government Debt
Ian Koetsier

Part II New Core Tasks: Social Security
5. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Pension System Designs
Ian Koetsier

6. Pension Provision: (Still) a Public Task?
Florian Blank

7. Protection Against Unemployment – A Res Publica?
Brigitte Unger

8. More Health Care or More Beer? A Curious Paradox of Making Some Economic Tasks a Res Publica
Frans van Waarden

9. ECEC: Childcare Markets in the Netherlands and England
Trudie Knijn and Jane Lewis

Part III Public Goods
10. Housing Policy and Spatial Inequality: Recent Insights from Vienna and Amsterdam
Gerlinde Gutheil-Knopp-Kirchwald and Justin Kadi

11. Funding of Protected Areas: A Purely Public Task?
Grazia Withalm

12. The Role of Governments in Conserving and Funding Cultural Institutions
Michael Getzner

13. Income Distribution as a Public Task: The Redistributive Preferences of (Mis)informed Voters
Daan van der Linde

14. Conclusions
Brigitte Unger, Michael Getzner and Daan van der Linde

Index