2 Defining the Field of Study Public Finance – Field of economics that analyzes government taxation and spending activities.Public Sector Economics or Public EconomicsTerms that better capture the fundamental issues of this field of economics - government’s role in the allocation of real resources - that includes, but is not limited to, government’s financial behavior.Focus on microeconomic functions of government.
3 Public Finance and Ideology Organic view of governmentSociety is a natural organismGovernment is the heart.Individuals are parts of the organism that have significance only as part of the community, which is stressed above the individual.Mechanistic view of governmentGovernment is not an organic part of society, but created by individuals for individuals.Libertarians vs. Social Democrats: Role of government
4 Government at a Glance: The Legal Framework Federal Government: Constitutional ProvisionsArticle 1, Section 8Congress will “pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”“The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises.”Article 1, Section 9“No…direct Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken”.16th Amendment“Congress shall have power to levy and collect taxes…”5th Amendment“No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”
5 Government at a Glance: The Legal Framework State GovernmentsFederal Constitution gives state governments board autonomy to spend and tax.Federal Constitution 10th Amendment controls states’ international economic policy.States’ Constitutions vary in spending and taxing restrictions and the economic issues with which they deal.Local GovernmentsDerive power to tax and spend from the States.Fiscal independence of local governments.
6 Government at a Glance: The Size of Government How to measure the extent to which society’s resources are subject to control by government.Annual expendituresTypes of government expenditurePurchases of goods and servicesTransfers of incomeInterest paymentsBudget documentsUnified budget: Itemized list of federal government revenues and expenditures.Regulatory budget: Economic costs of government regulations.
7 The Size of Government State, Local, and Federal Government Expenditures (selected years) Adjusting for InflationAdjusting for PopulationRelative to Economy1234Total Expenditures (billions)2011 Dollars (billions)*2011 Dollars per capitaPercent of GDP19702951,3756,70328.4%19808472,0078,81530.4%19901,8802,94811,78432.4%20002,9063,71213,15529.2%20115,41017,36235.9%*Conversion to 2011 dollars done using the GDP deflator Source: Calculations based on Economic Report of the President, 2012 [pp. 316, 320, 359, 415].Callouts highlight real, per capital and relative values
8 The Size of Government Government Expenditures as a % of GDP (2011) UnitedStatesBar representing US slides along graph from left to rightSource: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [2011b].
9 The Size of Government Composition: 2011 Federal Expenditures & Revenues Source: Economic Report of the President, 2012 [p. 413].
10 The Size of Government Composition: 2011 State & Local Expenditures & Revenues Source: Economic Report of the President 2012 [p. 419].
11 The Size of Government Revenues At the Federal level, the personal income tax is the single most important source of revenue.At the State and Local levels:Grants from the federal government are over 20% of revenuesSales taxes and Property taxes are each about 18% of revenues.Changes in the Real Value of Debt is also an important source of government revenue.
12 Chapter 1 SummaryPublic Finance/Public Sector Economics focuses on government’s role in the allocation of real resources - that includes, but is not limited to, taxing and govt spending.The Mechanistic view vs. Organic view of government.The U.S. embraces the mechanistic view, which nevertheless leads to disagreements on the appropriate size of the government.Evidence shows that the impact of the U.S. government on the allocation of national resources has increased over time.The U.S. Constitution outlines the roles of and constraints placed on state, and federal government economic activity.
13 Appendix: Doing Research in Public Finance Public Finance journalsInternational Tax and Public FinanceJournal of Public EconomicsNational Tax JournalPublic FinancePublic Finance QuarterlyGeneral-interest journalsAmerican Economic ReviewJournal of Economic PerspectivesJournal of Political EconomyQuarterly Journal of EconomicsReview of Economics and Statistics
14 Doing Research in Public Finance Other sourcesJournal of Economic LiteratureBrookings Institution’s Studies of Government FinanceCongressional Budget Office reportsNational Bureau of Economic Research working papersTax Foundation’s Facts and Figures on Government FinanceU.S. Government Printing Office publicationsStatistical Abstract of the United StatesEconomic Report of the PresidentBudget of the United StatesU.S. Census of GovernmentsHistorical Statistics of the United States from Colonial Times to 1970
15 Doing Research in Public Finance Public Finance data available on InternetResources for Economists on the Internet (U.S. Census Bureau (University of Michigan’s Office of Tax Policy Research (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (