chapter  10
26 Pages

Fiscal policy in Europe: the past and future of EMU rules from the perspective of Musgrave and Buchanan


Views regarding the role of government and public spending have evolved over time, both influencing and reflecting the evolution of actual public intervention. For the last 40 years, the intellectual debate has been dominated by the views of Richard Musgrave and James Buchanan, who together published some years ago a fascinating account of their respective conceptions in Public Finance and Public Choice: Two Contrasting Views of the State (Buchanan and Musgrave, 1999). The ‘public finance’ view of the state is essentially that the state can and must correct the excesses of the market. By contrast the ‘public choice’ view holds that interventions by the state create problems of their own because the state acts not in the general public interest, as postulated in the public finance view, but in the interest of certain groups.