Liberty Review

A Project of Liberty Fund

The Basic-Income Debate

SYMPOSIUM: THE BASIC INCOME DEBATE. DAVID R. HENDERSON, MICHAEL C. MUNGER, MATT ZWOLINSKY, ROBERT M. WHAPLES
THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW 19.4 (2015)

Basic-income guarantees or negative income taxes have been debated for decades, but a new group of advocates—some calling themselves libertarian—has rekindled the discussion. The Independent Review’s Spring 2015 symposium offers conflicting perspectives on this controversial proposal and on government’s role in social welfare spending in general.  Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, Philosophy, Politics

How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor?

THOMAS MaCURDY
JOURNAL OF POLITICAL ECONOMY 123.2 (2015): 497-545

Abstract: This study investigated the antipoverty efficacy of minimum wage policies. Proponents of these policies contend that employment impacts are negligible and suggest that consumers pay for higher labor costs through imperceptible increases in goods prices. Adopting this empirical scenario, the analysis demonstrates that an increase in the national minimum wage produces a value-added tax effect on consumer prices that is more regressive than a typical state sales tax and allocates benefits as higher earnings nearly evenly across the income distribution. These income-transfer outcomes sharply contradict portraying an increase in the minimum wage as an antipoverty initiative.

Filed under: Economics

On Distinguishing Publicly Justified Polities from Modus Vivendi Regimes

KEVIN VALLIER
SOCIAL THEORY AND PRACTICE 41.2 (2015): 207-229

Abstract: This essay develops a novel account of the distinction between a publicly justified polity and modus vivendi regimes by appealing to the ideal of congruence in public reason liberalism. A fully publicly justified polity is one whose laws are supported by congruent “first-personal” and “second-personal” moral reasons to internalize laws as personally binding on those subject to them. Regimes approach modus vivendi status to the extent that their laws fail to be justified by either type of reason, or where firstpersonal and second-personal reasons fail to justify internalization.

Filed under: Philosophy

Putting Distribution Back at the Center of Economics: Reflections on Capital in the Twenty-First Century

THOMAS PIKETTY
THE JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES 29.1 (2015): 67-88

Abstract: When a lengthy book is widely discussed in academic circles and the popular media, it is probably inevitable that the arguments of the book will be simplified in the telling and retelling. In the case of my book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014), a common simplification of the main theme is that because the rate of return on capital r exceeds the growth rate of the economy g, the inequality of wealth is destined to increase indefinitely over time. In my view, the magnitude of the gap between r and g is indeed one of the important forces that can explain historical magnitudes and variations in wealth inequality. However, I do not view r > g as the only or even the primary tool for considering changes in income and wealth in the 20th century, or for forecasting the path of income and wealth inequality in the 21st century. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics

Incompatible Institutions: Socialism Versus Constitutionalism in India

SHRUTI RAJAGOPALAN
CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI
10.1007/s10602-015-9188-0

Abstract: There has been a decline in rule of law in India, reflected in the frequent amendments to the Indian Constitution. This paper analyzes the historical, ideological, and economic context for constitutional amendments to understand the reason for the deterioration of constitutionalism in India. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Economics, History, Law, Politics

Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Sub-National Government Fiscal Discipline: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries

ZAREH ASATRYAN, LARS P. FELD, BENNY GEYS
PUBLIC CHOICE (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI10.1007/s11127-015-0250-2

Abstract: Recent theoretical research suggests that financing sub-national governments’ expenditure out of own revenue sources is linked to more responsible budgeting, because the financial implications of spending decisions then are internalized within a jurisdiction. We test this proposition empirically on a sample of 23 OECD countries over the 1975–2000 period, and find evidence in line with the hypothesis that greater revenue decentralization (measured as sub-national governments’ share of own source tax revenues in general government tax revenue) is associated with improved sub-national government budget deficits/surpluses. This finding is cross-validated with a novel, independent dataset consisting of all 34 OECD member states from 2002 to 2008.

Filed under: Economics, Politics

Summaries Archive

Recent Posts: Liberty Review América Latina

Pre-Independence Spanish Americans: Poor, Short and Unequal…Or the Opposite?

RAFAEL DOBADO-GONZÁLEZ REVISTA DE HISTORIA ECONÓMICA/JOURNAL OF IBERIAN AND LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI: 10.1017/S0212610914000135 Abstract: This paper attempts to establish a debate between alternative views of living standards in Spanish America during the viceregal period. Since 2009, a growing literature has shared a «common language» based on a similar, though not identical, methodology. […]

Latin American Inequality: Colonial Origins, Commodity Booms, or a Missed 20th Century Leveling?

JEFFREY G. WILLIAMSON NBER WORKING PAPER NO. 20915 (January 2015) Abstract: Most analysts of the modern Latin American economy have held the pessimistic belief in historical persistence — they believe that Latin America has always had very high levels of inequality, and that it’s the Iberian colonists’ fault. Thus, modern analysts see today a more unequal […]

About Liberty Review

Liberty Review summaries are selected by Liberty Fund Fellows on the basis both of their own research interests and of their relevance for Liberty Fund's mission: to contribute to the preservation and development of individual liberty through research and educational activities.

Print Issues

Liberty Matters

Our Books

Liberty Fund, Inc.

Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals. The Foundation develops, supervises, and finances its own educational activities.