Public Economics in the United States
How the Federal Government Analyzes and Influences the Economy [3 volumes]
by Steven Payson, Editor
June 2014, 1207pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
3 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39633-5
$204, £157, 178€, A280
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39634-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How much do American citizens know about the government’s role in economics?

This comprehensive explanation of the U.S. government's role in economics will be an eye-opener for anyone who wants to understand exactly what the government does—and doesn't do—in this most critical area.

Most people, including many economists, are not aware of the great variety of crucial tasks and invaluable analyses undertaken by government economists. This three-volume set will fill that gap with an all-encompassing overview of the major economics-related work the government performs across all of its agencies and offices. With 45 chapters written by 61 leading experts, the work covers every major topic in government economics, including such diverse areas as monetary policy, defense spending, social assistance, international trade, antitrust, and environmental protection.

In addition to entries by those who teach economics, the compendium also features candid observations from government insiders to help readers grasp how things really work. But readers will not only gain insight into specific fields and topics, they will also be able to better understand the big picture and how its pieces fit together. This unique and far-reaching set often challenges conventional wisdom even as it presents a novel synthesis of the government’s research, analysis—and actions.


  • Covers all basic subjects in government economics, addressing the practical side of public economics as well as theory
  • Includes rarely discussed topics such as modeling and forecasting the macroeconomy, the development of official measures of well-being, and professional ethics for economists in federal service
  • Comments on issues of particular interest to those in business including government intervention in small business lending, regulation of the banking industry, regulations governing securities transactions, outsourcing, and strategies for promoting U.S. competitiveness in world markets
  • Includes entries by leading experts such as Robert Lerman, president of the Society of Government Economists; Susan Offutt, chief economist of the Government Accountability Office; Paul Pautler, deputy director at the Federal Trade Commission; and Murray Weidenbaum, former chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors
Steven Payson, PhD, is a senior economic advisor in the Department of the Interior and has been an economist with the federal government since 1992. He was previously branch chief and chief of research at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, senior economist at the National Science Foundation, and senior economist at the Department of Agriculture. Payson also served as adjunct professor of economics at Georgetown University, Virginia Tech, Marymount University, and American University. He was president of the Society of Government Economists and founder and executive director of the Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions (AIRLEAP). Payson is the author of Quality Measurement in Economics: New Perspectives on the Evolution of Goods and Services and Economics, Science and Technology. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and bio-psychology from Wesleyan University, a master's of science degree in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a doctorate in economics from Columbia University.
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