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Taxes or Fees? The Political Economy of Providing Excludable Public Goods

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  • KURTIS J. SWOPE
  • ECKHARD JANEBA

Abstract

This paper provides a positive analysis of public provision of excludable public goods financed by uniform taxes or fees. Individuals differing in preferences decide, using majority rule, the provision level and financing instrument. The decisive voter has median preferences in a tax regime, but generally has above median preferences in a fee regime. Numerical solutions indicate that populations with uniform or left-skewed distributions of preferences choose taxes, while a majority coalition of high- and low-preference individuals prefer fees when preferences are sufficiently right skewed. Public good provision and welfare under fees exceeds that under taxes in the latter case. Copyright 2005 Blackwell Publishing Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 7 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 405-426

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:7:y:2005:i:3:p:405-426

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  1. Burns, Michael E & Walsh, Cliff, 1981. "Market Provision of Price-excludable Public Goods: A General Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 166-91, February.
  2. Robert W. Helsley & William C. Strange, 1991. "Exclusion and the Theory of Clubs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 24(4), pages 889-99, November.
  3. Brito, Dagobert L & Oakland, William H, 1980. "On the Monopolistic Provision of Excludable Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 691-704, September.
  4. Silva, Emilson C. D. & Kahn, Charles M., 1993. "Exclusion and moral hazard : The case of identical demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 217-235, September.
  5. Fraser, Clive D., 1996. "On the provision of excludable public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 111-130, April.
  6. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  7. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1998. "Private government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 281-304, June.
  8. Laux-Meiselbach, Wolfgang, 1988. "Impossibility of exclusion and characteristics of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 127-137, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Börner, Kira & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2005. "Migration and the Welfare State: The Economic Power of the Non-Voter?," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 154, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. Alexander Kemnitz, 2010. "A Simple Model of Health Insurance Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 3220, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Clemens Fuest & Martin Kolmar, 2004. "A Theory of User-Fee Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1166, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Clemens Fuest & Martin Kolmar, 2013. "Endogenous free riding and the decentralized user-fee financing of spillover goods in a n-region economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 169-191, April.
  5. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2012. "Are User Fees Really Regressive?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3875, CESifo Group Munich.

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