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Book Review

PFM, Vol. 12 No. 2, (2012)

Public finance theory has historically treated government as an omniscient actor working outside of the market. The state is assumed to be able to identify problems and take the necessary action to fix them. In this book, Wagner redefines the foundational assumptions of public finance. Instead of an omniscient actor, state, like markets, is an emergent order where people interact. While this book leaves certain applications underdeveloped, it addresses important implications of a social-theoretic approach to public finance. This book provides a strong critique to welfare economics, and lays the groundwork for future scholars to redefine how we think about public finance.

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