This major historical investigation analyses the causes and consequences of debt and deficits from the late 17th century to the 1990s. The internationally acclaimed group of authors examines the ideas and events that have changed economists', politicians' and policy makers' views on public debt and deficits over the last 250 years.
Why was tax collection so much more effective in eighteenth century England than in the Ancien Regime in France? What is `Gladstonian Public Finance', and how far was Gladstone responsible for it? If taxes are cut, do people save the proceeds because they (or their descendants) will one day have to find an equal amount to service the debt? Was there a Keynesian Revolution at the Treasury, or has its post-war performance drawn on older fiscal traditions? Is war the inevitable engine of developments in public finance or can peacetime be just as fruitful? This scholarly and stimulating book looks for answers to all these questions and more.
Debt and Deficits in an important addition to the literature as politicians and government officials try to reduce budget deficits as they become increasingly aware that we cannot sustain previous spending patterns. This book will be welcomed by professional economists, economic historians and government officials.