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Steven M. Sheffrin
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Sheffrin first explains traditional theories of market failure, used to justify intervention. He then combines the crucial question of political viability with the fascinating particulars of policy histories. Sheffrin applies such analysis to the areas of health care, social security, environmental policy, product liability, trade policy, and fiscal and budgetary policy. He argues that beneath each area lies a unique calculus of market failure and political pressures, and convincingly demonstrates that no single policy can be understood out of economic and political context. In short, the fact that markets may fail does not guarantee that politics will succeed. By examining both sides of each policy area, Sheffrin's careful review of our national policy-making reveals a minefield where, in many cases, politics cannot help but fail as badly as markets. However, he shows that all is not lost, citing, among other examples, political intervention in the medical industry as the only hope of stopping hospitals fromcompetitive purchases of useless technology.
"Markets and Majorities" is must reading for anyone who has ever wondered why government just can't seem to get things done, as well as anyone who has asked why it should try in the first place.
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