Theories of Institutional Design: Putting Trust in the US Budget: Federal Trust Funds and the Politics of Commitment (Hardback)
  • Theories of Institutional Design: Putting Trust in the US Budget: Federal Trust Funds and the Politics of Commitment (Hardback)
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Theories of Institutional Design: Putting Trust in the US Budget: Federal Trust Funds and the Politics of Commitment (Hardback)

(author)
£67.00
Hardback 246 Pages / Published: 17/08/2000
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In the United States many important programs are paid from trust funds. At a time when major social insurance funds are facing insolvency, this book provided the first comprehensive study of this significant yet little-studied feature of the American welfare state. Equally importantly, the author investigates an enduring issue in democratic politics: can current officeholders bind their successors? By law, trust funds, which get most of their money from earmarked taxes, are restricted for specific uses. Patashnik asks why these structures were created, and how they have affected political dynamics. He argues that officeholders have used trust funds primarily to reduce political uncertainty, and bind distant futures. Based on detailed case studies of trust funds in a number of policy sectors, he shows how political commitment is a developmental process, whereby precommitments shape the content of future political conflicts. This book will be of interest to students of public policy, political economy and American political development.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521771740
Number of pages: 246
Weight: 530 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'This is a terrific book. For Patashnik, the world of trust funds is a window into the complex and fascinating politics of trust and commitment. He shows how policy-makers wrestle with the challenging task of balancing the need to keep promises and the need to keep their options open. Imaginative, theoretically-informed and thoroughly-researched, Putting Trust in the US Budget is enormously instructive for students of public policy and American politics.' Paul Pierson, Harvard University
'This is a significant contribution to the literature on American policy-making and public budgeting. Patashnik artfully weaves together political science, public finance, and knowledge of government programs in telling us what to expect from the government's trust funds. The use of theory is deft and wide-ranging yet unpretentious. The case studies of Social Security, Medicare and other trust funds are sophisticated and illuminating. I learned a great deal from this book.' Martha Derthick, University of Virginia
'One can only admire the author's ability to explain so much, so lucidly.' Journal of Economic Literature
"[Patashnik] carefully investigates empirical questions regarding the causes and consequences of trust funds, yet he also thoughtfully reflects on the normative issues surrounding such statutory commitments...Patashnik writes clearly and seriously." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
"[A] refreshingly unpretentious account of trust funds in American government....One can only admire the author's ability to explain so much, so lucidly. It reinforces his message that, in addition to knowing public finance theory, it also helps to understand the political origins and development of the financing institutions under discussion." Journal of Economic Literature
"This is a significant contribution to the literature on American policy-making and public budgeting. Patashnik artfully weaves together political science, public finance, and knowledge of government programs in telling us what to expect from the government's trust funds. The use of theory is deft and wide-ranging yet unpretentious. The case studies of Social Security, Medicare and other trust funds are sophisticated and illuminating. I learned a great deal from this book." Martha Derthick, University of Virginia
"This is a terrific book. For Patashnik, the world of trust funds is a window into the complex and fascinating politics of trust and commitment. He shows how policy-makers wrestle with the challenging task of balancing the need to keep promises and the need to keep their options open. Imaginative, theoretically-informed and thoroughly-researched, Putting Trust in the U.S. Budget is enormously instructive for students of public policy and American politics." Paul Pierson, Harvard University
"This is a significant contribution to the literature on American policy-making and public budgeting. Patashnik artfully weaves together political science, public finance, and knowledge of government programs in telling us what to expect from the government's trust funds. The use of theory is deft and wide-ranging yet unpretentious. The case studies of Social Security, Medicare and other trust funds are sophisticated and illuminating. I learned a great deal from this book." Martha Derthick, University of Virginia
"...Patashnik has made an important contribution to the analysis of trust funds. This book has several strenghts...It gives an insightful review of the literature on what might be termes the "economics of commitment," it provides a systematic empirical analysis of the determinants of trust fund taxes and general taxes, and it gives detailed case studies of several trust funds." Public Budgeting and Finance
"This theoretically sophisticated, meticulously researched and elegantly written book makes a major contribution both to the complexities of US budgeting and the comparative formation of public policy. Patashnik has written an important book about an important subject." Desmond King, St John's College, Oxford, for Journal of Political Studies

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