The Nature of the Public Sector

  • Jesse Burkhead
  • Jerry Miner
Part of the Aldine Treatises in Modern Economics book series (MSE)


Perhaps the most general observation that can be made about government activities is that they have grown, both relatively and absolutely, in all countries of the world. This commonplace observation must necessarily serve as the starting point for any systematic treatment of the political economy of public expenditure, for the growth of government lies at the heart of continued controversy over the role of the public sector. This controversy is particularly acute in a mixed economy where the public sector is growing more rapidly than the private and where it often appears that this growth is at the expense of, or contributes to a diminution in, private economic activity. In any economic system, regardless of the relative growth of public and private activities, there will be continuously difficult and controversial choices in selecting the appropriate composition of government expenditure and in choosing among alternative government programs that are intended to accomplish social goals.


Public Sector Public Good Public Expenditure Government Expenditure Economic Freedom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alchian, Armen A. “Cost Effectiveness of Cost Effectiveness,” in Stephen Enke, ed., Defense Management. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967, pp. 74–86.Google Scholar
  2. Baumol, William J. Welfare Economics and the Theory of the State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  3. Baumol, William J. “Macroeconomics of Unbalanced Growth: The Anatomy of the Urban Crisis.” American Economic Review June 1967, pp. 415–26.Google Scholar
  4. Black, Duncan. “Wicksell’s Principle in the Distribution of Income,” in J. K. Eastham, ed., Economic Essays in Commemoration of the Dundee School of Economics. London: Economists’ Bookshop, 1955, pp. 7–23.Google Scholar
  5. Buchanan, James M. “Wicksell on Fiscal Reform.” American Economic Review September 1952, pp. 599–602.Google Scholar
  6. Buchanan, James M. Fiscal Theory and Political Economy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960.Google Scholar
  7. Buchanan, James M. The Demand and Supply of Public Goods. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968.Google Scholar
  8. Gross, Bertram M. The Managing of Organizations, 2 vols. New York: The Free Press, 1964.Google Scholar
  9. Hanson, A. H. Public Enterprise. Brussels: International Institute of Administrative Sciences, 1955.Google Scholar
  10. McKean, Roland N. “The Unseen Hand in Government.” American Economic Review June 1965, pp. 496–506.Google Scholar
  11. Musgrave, Richard A., and Alan T. Peacock. Classics in the Theory of Public Finance. London: Macmillan, 1958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Musgrave, Richard A. Fiscal Systems. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1969.Google Scholar
  13. Peacock, Alan T., and Jack Wiseman. The Growth of Public Expenditure in the United Kingdom. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  14. Peacock, Alan T.“Measuring the Efficiency of Government Expenditure,” in A. R. Prest, ed., Public Sector Economics. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1968, pp. 37–67.Google Scholar
  15. Schultze, Charles L. “The Role of Incentives, Penalties, and Rewards in Attaining Effective Policy,” in Robert H. Haveman and Julius Margolis, eds., Public Expenditures and Policy Analysis. Chicago: Markham, 1970, pp. 145–72.Google Scholar
  16. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. New York: Modern Library, 1937.Google Scholar
  17. Uhr, Carl G. “Wicksell on Fiscal Reform: Further Comment.” American Economic Review June 1953, pp. 366–68.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jesse Burkhead and Jerry Miner 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesse Burkhead
    • 1
  • Jerry Miner
    • 1
  1. 1.Syracuse UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations