Global structural changes and government challenges

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Padova, September 20-21 2018

The Italian Society of Public Economics (SIEP) announces its XXX Annual Conference, to be held in Padova.

During the 20th century, the economic role of the government had substantially widened in all countries. In the 1970s and 1980s, government policies had been criticized because of inefficiencies and macroeconomic instability they introduce in the functioning of markets, dampening economic growth. However, in the last thirty years, research has significantly advanced our understanding of the way asymmetric information, incomplete contracts, and incomplete markets cause serious malfunctioning of market economies. The experience of government interventions to face the worst effects of economic and financial crises in late 20th century and early 21st century (e.g., the Great Recession) as well as successful development cases call for a reconsideration of State and market failures.

While pure ideological battles seem to fade away, there is a growing consensus that markets and governments are imperfect institutions and the main focus of research and policy-making should be the identification of the most appropriate forms of government intervention. Under this perspective, the relationship between governments and private agents can be more fruitfully analysed in terms of partnership. Moreover, the new global challenges (e.g. climate change, environmental crises, aging and migrations, technological change, socio-political conflicts) call for stronger partnerships also within the government sector – among local, national, and international institutions – to pursue a consensual review of the rules that regulate the functioning of national and global markets – e.g., competition policy, trade policy, industrial policy, financial stability policy. In many fields, public-private partnerships as well as public-public partnership are seen as crucial and flexible instruments to face global technological, environmental, demographic, and socio-political changes.

For any further information, please check the website of the Society.