Public Economics

Research in the Public Economics (PE) programme covers these areas:

  • Taxation

  • Government Expenditures

  • Social Policy

  • Welfare State

  • Political Economy

  • Development

  • Fiscal and Welfare Implications of European Integration

The Public Economics Programme is directed by: 

Recent Symposia have included:

A new Political Economy Research Group (POLECON) has been set up in 2019, led by Helios Herrera (University of Warwick) and Ronny Razin (London School of Economics). 

On both sides of the Atlantic, the Western world is facing radical political changes. In some countries, calls for protectionism vis-à-vis immigrants and globalization have ignited the extreme policy positions of the Trump administration in US and post-Brexit UK. Nationalism and closure to immigration are on the rise also in Germany and France and everywhere in the EU within and outside the Euro area. In many countries, from Italy to Spain, Greece and Sweden, mounting protest against inequality, capitalist values, and supranational institutions have sparked the rise of left-wing populist movements calling for guaranteed minimum income and other forms of short-term economic protection.

Given these recent political transformations and the public backlash against globalization, immigration, and inequality, we believe there is ample scope for more discussion in the scientific community on the interaction between economic policy and political outcomes. The POLECON Research Group responds to the need for this type of research in the context of Europe. This new CEPR initiative aims to foster a lively intellectual debate on these issues, spread research findings to a broader audience, and offer policymakers valuable recommendations for the design of novel and ambitious policies. 

The research group also fosters a closer dialogue between Public Economics and Political Economy. These disciplines have natural complementarities, but have traditionally taken different paths. Political economy focuses more on the political feasibility of certain policies by looking at which policies are more likely to enjoy public support and thus succeed in an electoral contest. Public economics looks more at determining which policies are optimal in every environment, but is less concerned about their political approval or feasibility. Recent events have raised awareness for the need for more integration between these two approaches as political resistance to the adoption of potentially beneficial polices has become ever more salient. A large number of CEPR researchers work at the intersection of these two areas, and POLECON's goal is to seize on this opportunity and consolidate this group to foster research activities and collaborations that will spill over to other CEPR activities within and beyond the Public Economics programme. 

More information on the Public Economics Programme: