Reply Rev Austrian Econ (2009) 22:177–180 DOI 10.1007/s11138-009-0071-y Timothy Besley Published online: 5 March 2009 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009 As I write these comments, the world is in the grips of a financial crisis, possibly the greatest such global crisis of its kind. This has created issues for both markets and government. Faith in markets has been shaken to the core by the difficulties in finan- cial institutions. But it is a challenge to government too. The public are turning to their governments to deal with these issues and whether the responses are ultimately deemed successful will affect the perception of government as an actor in the economy for a generation or more. Thinking through these issues is a challenge for any student of political economy. When I wrote Principled Agents (PA hereafter), I was hoping that some of the tools laid out there might be helpful in thinking about when government works and when it does not. The policy challenges are to identify the optimal policies and then to find ways on delivering on them. We are all standing on the shoulders of previous generations of thinkers who have worried about these questions. I have always The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals

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