EC340Chapter2Slides - EC340 Issues in Public Economics...

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EC340: Issues in Public Economics Chapter 2: Measuring Public Sector Size Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 EC340: Issues in Public Economics 1 / 38
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Legal framework The US legal framework is the Constitution (1787), which grants Congress certain powers, including the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 EC340: Issues in Public Economics 2 / 38
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Levels of government The federal government oversees many facets of the country, including national defense, international relations, interstate commerce, the post office, and printing money. State and local governments have the power to tax and spend within their jurisdictions. Among the functions of many state and local governments are education, police and fire protection, provision of libraries, and sewer/garbage disposal services. The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 EC340: Issues in Public Economics 3 / 38
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States Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 EC340: Issues in Public Economics 4 / 38
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Counties in Oregon Nathan Biemiller Fall 2016 EC340: Issues in Public Economics 5 / 38
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How do we distinguish between government and private institutions? The first major difference is that public institutions are run by elected officials, or by individuals whose power is derived from the electoral process. The second difference is that the government possesses rights of compulsion; for instance, the government can compel you to pay taxes and follow laws, and it can imprison you or confiscate your property if you fail to comply. The government also possesses the right to seize your property for public use (eminent domain). Private institutions do not have these rights.
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