Public economics (or economics of the public sector) is the study of government policy through the lens of economic efficiency and equity. At its most basic level, public economics provides a framework for thinking about whether or not the government should participate in economics markets and to what extent its role should be. In order to do so, microeconomic theory is utilized to assess whether the private market is likely to provide efficient outcomes in the absence of governmental interference. Inherently, this study involves the analysis of government taxation and expenditures. This subject encompasses a host of topics including market failures, externalities, and the creation and implementation of government policy. Public economics builds on the theory of welfare economics and is ultimately used as a tool to improve social welfare.
Broad methods and topics include:
Political economy was the original term used for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth. Political economy originated in moral philosophy. It was developed in the 18th century as the study of the economies of states, or polities, hence the term political economy.
In the late 19th century, the term economics came to replace political economy, coinciding with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall in 1890. Earlier, William Stanley Jevons, a proponent of mathematical methods applied to the subject, advocated economics for brevity and with the hope of the term becoming "the recognised name of a science."
Sales taxes in the United States are taxes placed on the sale or lease of goods and services in the United States. While no national general sales tax exists, the federal government levies several national selective sales taxes on the sale or lease of particular goods and services. Furthermore, forty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Guam impose general sales taxes that apply to the sale or lease of most goods and some services, and states also may levy selective sales taxes on the sale or lease of particular goods or services. States may also delegate to local governments the authority to impose additional general or selective sales taxes.
Sales tax is calculated by multiplying the purchase price by the applicable tax rate. Tax rates vary widely by jurisdiction and range from less than 1% to over 10%. Sales tax is collected by the seller at the time of sale. Use tax is self assessed by a buyer who has not paid sales tax on a taxable purchase. Unlike the value added tax, a sales tax is imposed only once, at the retail level. However, in cases where items are sold at retail more than once, such as used cars, the sales tax can be charged on the same item indefinitely.
A flat tax (short for flat tax rate) is a tax system with a constant marginal rate, usually applied to individual or corporate income. A flat tax falls under proportional tax as they allow certain deductions. There are various tax systems that are labeled "flat tax" even though they are significantly different.
Flat tax proposals differ in how they define what is subject to tax.
A sales tax is a tax paid to a governing body for the sales of certain goods and services. Usually laws allow (or require) the seller to collect funds for the tax from the consumer at the point of purchase.
Laws may allow sellers to itemize the tax separately from the price of the goods or services, or require it to be included in the price (tax-inclusive). The tax amount is usually calculated by applying a percentage rate to the taxable price of a sale.
Public finance is the study of the role of the government in the economy. It is the branch of economics which assesses the government revenue and government expenditure of the public authorities and the adjustment of one or the other to achieve desirable effects and avoid undesirable ones.
The purview of public finance is considered to be threefold: governmental effects on (1) efficient allocation of resources, (2) distribution of income, and (3) macroeconomic stabilization.