This chapter discusses the evolution of German views on public debt 1850–1920, referring to three strands of secondary literature: (1) German retrospectives on public finance, (2) the historical literature with a public choice perspective, and (3) contributions to public/constitutional law, mainly referring to Lorenz von Stein. The skeptic view of public debt endorsed by authors of the second half of the period is shown to be related to politico-economic issues of state agency combined with new state functions, rather than to the rejection of Dietzel’s Proto-Keynesian macroeconomic reasoning.
Helpful comments by two anonymous referees and discussants at the ESHET 2018 conference in Madrid and a Workshop “Public Finance in the History of Economic Thought in Barcelona 2017” are gratefully acknowledged.
Sturn, R. (2020), "Public Credit, Capital, and State Agency: Fiscal Responsibility in German-Language
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