The Role of the Public Sector


The Role of the Public Sector

Economics and Society

9781035316953 Edward Elgar Publishing
Bent Greve, Professor in Social Science, Department of Social Sciences and Business, University of Roskilde, Denmark
Publication Date: 2023 ISBN: 978 1 03531 695 3 Extent: 160 pp
At last – a textbook on the public sector for students of social policy, public policy, political science and sociology. This book explains why we have a public sector and what tasks it is expected to perform.

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At last – a textbook on the public sector for students of social policy, public policy, political science and sociology. This book explains why we have a public sector and what tasks it is expected to perform.

Bent Greve presents the key strengths and weaknesses of the public sector in modern European societies in a clear and straightforward fashion. He also highlights the new challenges the sector faces, including changes in global development, demography and technology.

Public and private sectors are highly interdependent and Greve explores this relationship and the consequences of choosing different public expenditures and financing. He addresses differences across affluent European economies and demonstrates how countries can develop society as desired whilst ensuring that their economies remain resilient to external crises, such as the financial crisis of 2008 or the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highly accessible and informative, this book will be a valuable resource for lecturers and students of social policy, public policy, political science and economic sociology. It is also essential reading for students of public sector management and administration who need to understand the fundamentals of public sector economics and political economy. Its novel interpretation of the broader role of the public sector will also be beneficial for practitioners and policy makers.
Critical Acclaim
‘Recent years have witnessed the “Return of the State” after decades of spreading neo-liberalism and market ideology. Bent Greve’s book is a very well written text able to capture the old and new roles of the public sector in contemporary societies. It provides interesting and valuable insights both for scholars and students into how the relationship between the state, the market and society has been evolving and the present and future challenges.’
– Emmanuele Pavolini, University of Macerata, Italy

‘What is the public sector? Why is public spending necessary, and how is it funded and managed? Greve offers a clear, non-ideological account of the nature of the public sector in developed economies. His analysis of the complex connections between public and private, state and market, provides readers with a timely guide to this most fundamental of all relationships in the public sphere.’
– Nick Ellison, University of York, UK

‘This book is an excellent guide for students and professionals in public and social policy, helping them to understand the economic issues in policy making. The key concepts in public sector economics are clearly presented, with explanations of current debates and references to the most recent literature. The multiple economic and social effects of public sector and welfare state measures, and their mutual relationships are also well explained. Bent Greve illuminates the conceptual debate with compelling empirical illustrations which spark and maintain the interest of the reader. Last, but not the least, Greve accentuates new important topics not commonly included in textbooks: the social investment perspective and the consequences of this for policy making, international influences on national public sector economics (including EMU), and current developmental challenges for the public sector such as societal ageing, external shocks on economies and technological change.’
– Tomáš Sirovátka, Masaryk University, Czechia
Contents: Preface 1. The role of the public sector 2. Allocation, distribution and stabilization 3. Market failure and other reasons for public interventions 4. Size of the public sector 5. Taxation and impact on societies 6. Fiscal policy – what works what does not work 7. Steering of the public sector economy 8. In-cash benefits – the role of the public sector 9. In-kind benefits – the service of the public sector 10. International influence, including the Economic and Monetary Union 11. A social investment perspective on public sector spending 12. Challenges for the public sector – a few concluding remarks Index
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