Lecture 22 - Public and Non-Profit Finance
As an introduction to public and nonprofit finance, Professor Shiller reflects on the remarkable financial structures that we have in support of public causes, making possible the achievement of higher goals that transcend individual satisfaction of needs. He gives examples of nonprofits, illustrating how that financial form can support a moral mission and social purpose. There is however sometimes a fine line between for-profit and public enterprises, because similar companies can be either for-profit or non-profit and because governments regulate and collect corporate profits taxes on for profit-organizations, implicitly creating a public purpose for them. Subsequently, he covers state and local finance, outlining the difference between operating budgets and capital budgets as well as the tax-exemption of municipal bonds. During the last part of the lecture, he provides an overview of historic improvement in governmental social insurance that ranges from progressive taxes to public services and to old age, survivors, and disability insurance. All of these advances in public and nonprofit finance have taken place in step with other advances in human society, notably advances in information technology.