Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


How Big Should Our Government Be?

Jon Bakija (Author), Lane Kenworthy (Author), Peter Lindert (Author), Jeff Madrick (Author)

Other Formats Available:
The size of government is arguably the most controversial discussion in United States politics, and this issue won't fade from prominence any time soon. There must surely be a tipping point beyond which more government taxing and spending harms the economy, but where is that point? In this accessible book, best-selling authors Jeff Madrick, Jon Bakija, Lane Kenworthy, and Peter Lindert try to answer whether our government can grow any larger and examine how we can optimize growth and fair distribution.
Jon Bakija is Professor of Economics at Williams College. Lane Kenworthy is Professor of Sociology and Yankelovich Chair in Social Thought at the University of California, San Diego. Peter Lindert is Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis. Jeff Madrick is Director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative at the Century Foundation, editor of Challenge magazine, and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
"An Important new book . . . goes deep into this question of government footprint and growth."—Jared Bernstein The Washington Post
"If you would like a low-key, reasonably argued, nonideological discussion of the economic role of the government in the United States, one based on facts and on research using the facts, this is just the book for you."—Robert Solow, Nobel Laureate in Economics and Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"How big the government should be, what it should do, and how it should do it are among the most fundamental questions in economics and public policy. Too often, in the public arena, real consideration of these issues is drowned out by ideology, slogans, pledges, wishful thinking, and people making up their own facts. This short, insightful book is an antidote. The authors embrace the big questions about government and apply a very readable combination of theory, logic, and evidence. The work is descriptive and prescriptive, informative and provocative, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Highly recommended reading on a highly charged subject that is central to our nation's future."—William Gale, Arjay and Frances Miller Chair in Federal Economic Policy at the Brookings Institution and Co-Director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

"This is an important book presenting the case for an expanded role for government by four of the most creative thinkers on the topic. Both proponents and critics of 'big government' would benefit from reading the argument."—Dean Baker, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more