I want to wring the science out of the dismal science.
September 30, 2011 2:13 PM Subscribe
I want to understand economic policy better, but I'm looking for a source that takes a specific type of approach. Help me find it, assuming it exists.
Every so often I end up in a discussion about economic policy and quickly realize that I'm pretty ignorant on the subject. I've got a bunch of front-line arguments, but once any objections come (not spittle-flecked idiocy in this case -- it's usually with people who have reasonable-sounding and seemingly well-founded counterarguments) I realize that I don't know what I'm talking about. Those counterarguments usually take the form of "that policy would be nice if we lived in an ideal world, but we can't do that because of the damage it would do to [insert segment of the population/economic sector/large entity or group here]." In light of that, I'd really like to find a source that does a few things:
1. Offers an introduction to the various questions and structures of macroeconomics, especially with an eye towards contemporary economic issues, and addresses as fairly as possible the ways that opposing economic schools across the whole spectrum attempt to deal with those questions.
2. As far as is possible, offers comparative, empirical (and, again, even-handed) evaluations of how real-world implementations of those various theories have faired, something along the lines of a case study of (these are all made up) things like how the NHS in the UK has reduced healthcare costs by $X but is projected to not be sustainable because of budgetary concerns A, B, and C, or how environmental deregulation in the Ukraine benefitted industry Z, but externalities incurred by other industries and the harm done to citizens near the affected area resulted in that legislation being a net detriment to the economy/the country, etc.
If it's possible, I'd rather not have a source that offers this information in the context of "here's why conservative economic policy empirically sucks!" or vice versa. I understand that this is a deeply politicized topic, but I'm really trying to avoid just finding information that confirms my intuitions. On the other hand, I don't want to be lied to. Any ideas for some sources that might fit that bill?