Agency and Public Finance

Julian Le Grand

in Motivation, Agency, and Public Policy

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780199266999
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600869 | DOI:
Agency and Public Finance

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Examines how individuals should be left to make their own decisions with respect to other areas of welfare, such as saving for their pension or long‐term care. It concludes that there is a case for government intervention in individuals’ savings and insurance decisions. This case is based, not on some individual failure, but on various forms of market failure: information problems, transactions costs, and the fact that all relevant interests, notably future selves, are not being represented in the market. All of these problems suggest that, if left to themselves, people will save, or insure for, too little. Hence, the state needs to adopt methods of increasing people's savings.

Keywords: future selves; insurance; long‐term care; market failure; pensions; savings

Chapter.  3399 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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