Nicholas Barr

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A society is a cooperative venture for the mutual advantage of its members.

Nicholas Barr FRSA is a British economist, currently serving as professor of public economics at the London School of Economics (LSE). He received his Ph.D. in Economics as a Fulbright Scholar from the University of California and his MSc in Economics from LSE.

Sourced[edit]

Economics Of The Welfare State (Fourth Edition)[edit]

  • First, the welfare state is not a subject apart, but fits naturally into the framework of economic analysis. Secondly,the theoretical arguments support the existence of the welfare state not only for well known equity reasons but also - and powerfully - in efficiency terms.
    • Chapter 1, Introduction, p. 3
  • A 'socialist' country like Sweden has a highly articulated welfare state; Denmark and New Zealand (which are not highly industrialized) were among the first countries with a public system of old-age pensions; and Saskatchewan was the first Canadian province to have publicly organized health insurance.
    • Chapter 2, The Historical Background, p. 39
  • A society is a cooperative venture for the mutual advantage of its members.
    • Chapter 3, Political Theory: Social Justice And The State, p. 42
  • A reduction in the liberty of the least well off cannot be justified even if it is to their economic advantage.
    • Chapter 3, Political Theory: Social Justice And The State, p. 49
  • Perfect competition must hold in product and factor markets, and also (and importantly) in capital markets. The assumption has two essential features: economic agents must be price takers; and they must have equal power.
    • Chapter 4, State Intervention, p. 73
  • In a world of certainty, the welfare state has only a small role.
    • Chapter 4, State Intervention, p. 79
  • It is argued that regulators are frequently captured by those whom they are supposed to regulate.
    • Chapter 4, State Intervention, p. 88-89
  • Markets can be efficient or inefficient; so can governments. thus market failure is a counterpoint to government failure.
    • Chapter 4, State Intervention, p. 93
" there is an efficiency case for an institutional welfare state."
  • " there is an efficiency case for an institutional welfare state."
    • Chapter 4, State Intervention, p. 93
  • By 'trading' (i.e. pooling), individuals can acquire certainty.
    • Chapter 5, Insurance, p. 105
  • Thus social insurance, in sharp contrast with actuarial insurance, can cover not only risk but also uncertainty.
    • Chapter 5, Insurance, p. 117
  • Money income is a flawed measure of individual welfare.
    • Chapter 6, Problems Of Definition And Measurement, p. 128
  • The European Commission uses an explicit relative poverty line of 60 per cent of national average income.
    • Chapter 6, Problems Of Definition And Measurement, p. 132
  • The crucial point is that any system of health care must constitute a genuine strategy-ad hoc tinkering is a guaranteed road to disaster.
    • Chapter 12, Health And Health Care, p. 290
  • Education to the extent that it raises an individual's future earnings, increases her future tax payments; in the absence of any subsidy, an individual's investment in education confers a 'dividend' on future taxpayers.
    • Chapter 13, School Education, p. 297-298
  • Efficiency advantages and disadvantages are more finely balanced than with health care - one person's 'sign of a civilized society' is another's 'society is going to the dogs'.
    • Chapter 13, School Education, p. 309
  • So far as school education is concerned, many of the assumptions necessary for market efficiency fail, the main problems being imperfect information, imperfect capital markets, and external effects.
    • Chapter 13, School Education, p. 318
  • It has been argued that relatively poor people will borrow to buy a house, so why not to buy a degree?
    • Chapter 14, Higher Education, p. 323
  • Given the external benefits higher education creates, it is efficient that taxpayers subsidies should be a permanent part of the landscape.
    • Chapter 14, Higher Education, p. 329
  • The welfare state is the outcome of diverse forces over nearly four centuries of developing social policy.
    • Chapter 15, Conclusion, p. 349
In a world of certainty, the welfare state has only a small role.
  • We need a welfare state of some sort for efficiency reasons, and would continue to do so even if all distributional problems were solved.
    • Chapter 15, Conclusion, p. 354
  • Unless the countries of East Asia are very different, rising incomes and the weakening of extended family ties will lead to demands for rising social expenditure.
    • Chapter 15, Conclusion, p. 358
  • "It is the welfare state that has made capitalism, with all its attendant benefits of economic growth, politically feasible..."
    • Chapter 15, Conclusion, p. 359

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