The central question of this book is whether the assignment of government functions to the individual jurisdictions in a federal state can ensure an optimal allocation of resources and a fair income distribution. The analysis thereby gives a new answer to the old question about the optimal degree of fiscal decentralization in a federal state. It shows that fiscal decentralization is a method to disclose the preferences of currently living and future generations for local public goods, to limit the size of the government, and to avoid excessive public debt finance. While the allocative branch of the government benefits from fiscal decentralization, it is difficult to obtain a distribution of incomes that differs from the outcome that the market brings along.
This book resulted from the NATO Advanced Research Workshop on "Electron Kinetics and Applications of Glow Discharges," held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 19-23, 1997. Glow discharges have found widespread applications in many technological processes from the manufacture of semiconductors, to recent developments in na- technology, to the traditional fields of gas lasers, and discharge lamps. Consequently, the interest in the physics of glow discharges has experienced yet another resurgence of interest. While the non-equilibrium character of glow discharges is widely accepted, the opinion still prevails that the main features can be captured by fluid models, and that kinetic treatments are only required for the understanding of subtle details. The erroneousness of this belief is demonstrated by the failure of fluid models to describe many basic features of glow discharges such as, for instance, electrode phenomena, striations, and collisionless heating effects. An adequate description of glow discharges thus has to be of kinetic nature.
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