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New Subjectivist Economic Theory and Public Finance

Author: J. PATRICK GUNNING
Published in PFM, Vol. 1 No. 3

The professional field of public finance has developed partly as a
branch of economics and partly as an extension of government. As a branch
of economics it has enjoyed the benefits of advances in that field. It has also
suffered from the errors -- some of them momentous -- in this root field. As
an extension of government, public finance has often embraced politically
advantageous ideas in spite of their contradiction of sound economic
thinking. Finally, developments in the field of public finance itself have
sometimes aided in the development of economic theory. The relationship
between economic theory, public finance, and government is quite complex.
The purpose of this paper is to appraise the developments in the
history of public finance in light of the influence of economic theory and
politics. For the purpose of the paper, economic theory refers to the what
the author has "new subjectivism. The new subjectivism is the method of
economics discovered by economists who are now called "neoclassical."
From the viewpoint of the new subjectivism, public finance is the study of
how various forms of government action effect entrepreneurship.

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