Yew-Kwang Ng

Yew-Kwang Ng was born in 1942 in Malaysia. He graduated with a B.Com. from Nanyang University (Singapore) in 1966 and a Ph.D. from Sydney University in 1971. He holds a personal chair at Monash University (since 1985) and has been a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia since 1980. He has worked in welfare economics, proposed mesoeconomics (a simplified general equilibrium analysis with both micro and macro elements) and welfare biology. He also collaborates with Dr. Xiaokai Yang on an inframarginal analysis of division of labour. He has published more than a hundred and fifty refereed articles in economics and a dozen in biology, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, and sociology and more than a hundred articles in the popular press. Books published include Welfare Economics (Macmillan, 1979 and 1983), Mesoeconomics: A Micro-Macro Analysis (Wheatsheaf, 1986), Social Welfare and Economic Policy (Wheatsheaf, 1990), Specialization and Economic Organization (North-Holland, 1993, with X. Yang), Increasing Returns and Economic Analysis, ed. (Macmillan, 1998, with Nobel laureate K. Arrow and X. Yang), Economics and Happiness (Collected papers in Chinese) (Maw Chang, 1999), Efficiency, Equality, and Public Policy: With a Case for Higher Public Spending (Macmillan, 2000).

Papers Published in World Economics:

Is Public Spending Good for You?
Author: Yew-Kwang Ng

Studies by psychologists, sociologists and economists indicate that increases in incomes beyond about US$4,000 are not related to happiness nor significantly with the objective quality-of-life indicators (which increase with scientific and technological breakthroughs at the global level). Yet everyone wants more money. This may be explained by environmental disruption, relative-income effects, inadequate recognition of adaptation effects, and the materialistic bias due to our accumulation instinct and advertising. These factors cause a bias towards private consumption, making public spending, especially on research and environmental protection (with their long-term and global public-good nature) well below optimal. This is made worse by economists’ emphasis on the excess burden of taxation, ignoring the negative excess burden on the spending side.

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