Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 9 No. 2 (Spring 1995)


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Forty Years of Public Economics: A Personal Perspective

Article Citation

Dreze, Jacques H. 1995. "Forty Years of Public Economics: A Personal Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(2): 111-130.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.2.111


This paper presents a personal perspective on the field of public economics with emphasis on the interplay of theory and applications. In the early 1950s, theoretical developments grew out of practical applications. Yet, few economists succeed in creatively linking theory to real problems and our professional organization fails to promote adequately such contributions. The author also discusses briefly the success of public economics, its fragmentation into subfields, and its relation to macroeconomics. The writing of this paper was prompted by the author's participation in editing a volume of selected papers by William Vickrey, whose work is exemplary of the perspective presented here.

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Dreze, Jacques H. (Catholic U Louvain)

JEL Classifications

H00: Public Economics: General


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