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Daan van der Linde

The distribution of income is paramount in discussions of the res publica. Two normative arguments justify public concern over the distribution of income: one departing from concerns over social welfare, justifying public intervention on grounds of equity; while a second views redistribution of income as the solution to a market failure, justifying such intervention on grounds of efficiency. Although historically redistribution followed from charity, it is unlikely that charity sufficiently redistributes income, as the distribution of income represents a public good. Redistribution following from a democratic system, whereby states intervene in the income distribution through tax-and-transfer systems, brings forth the question of how much states should redistribute. Large national variation in tax-and-transfer systems exists, yet all countries devote a substantial share of tax revenues to income transfers. The main theory explaining variation across countries is critiqued with regard to its empirical success, and two new arguments explaining deviations from theory are introduced, based on the perceptions of voters.

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Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde

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Edited by Brigitte Unger and Daan van der Linde

Although the practice of disguising the illicit origins of money dates back thousands of years, the concept of money laundering as a multidisciplinary topic with social, economic, political and regulatory implications has only gained prominence since the 1980s. This groundbreaking volume offers original, state-of-the-art research on the current money laundering debate and provides insightful predictions and recommendations for future developments in the field.
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Edited by Brigitte Unger, Daan van der Linde and Michael Getzner

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Brigitte Unger, Loek Groot and Daan van der Linde

This introduction aims to provide a framework to address not only the normative question on what ought to be the character and business of government (or any other public authority), but also to positively evaluate shifts between private and public roles in recent history. Historical evaluations of the balance between market, state and society may serve as an alternative for models arguing that the ‘right’ configuration exists: why did current tasks evolve the way they did, and what can be learned from the past? Changes in technology or in the economic environment (such as the emergence of the European Union and globalization) can be held responsible for shifts in the optimal allocation between the public and private sphere, but there might also be a major shift of preferences regarding what should be public or private. Although it is hard to claim that the pendulum in the division between public and private, or market and government, has begun to reverse its swing, we feel it is important to give an account of the public sector in order to better understand what is at stake.

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Brigitte Unger, Michael Getzner and Daan van der Linde

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Public or Private Goods?

Redefining Res Publica

Edited by Brigitte Unger, Daan van der Linde and Michael Getzner

The book explores the core public tasks that the state has traditionally provided but which increasingly are being privatized and subsumed by the private sector. The night-watchman state role of providing security is instead offered by private prisons and security guards. Legitimized by the argument of efficiency gains, social security including public housing, pensions, unemployment insurance and health care are all being gradually privatized. This book argues that on the basis of efficiency, morality and equality there is still an overwhelming need for public intervention – the res publica. Although the state still funds and regulates core domains, it provides fewer and fewer visible goods. The authors show how this apparent invisibility of the state presents serious challenges for both income equality and democracy.