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A Theory of Distributional Conflict, Voluntarism and Segregation

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  • IgnatiusJ. Horstmann
  • KimberleyA. Scharf

Abstract

Along with the rise in income inequality in the US, there is evidence of a simultaneous move towards fiscal devolution and increased government reliance on private provision of public goods. This article argues that these phenomena are related. We describe a model of jurisdiction and policy formation in which the structure of government provision is endogenous and public good provision levels are determined by a political process that can exploit private motives for voluntary giving. The model predicts that an increase in income inequality leads to decentralisation, with local jurisdictions becoming more income-homogeneous than the population as a whole. This reduction in local income heterogeneity, combined with a reduced tax base, results in increased reliance by government on private provision. Copyright � 2008 The Author(s).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 527 (03)
Pages: 427-453

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:527:p:427-453

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Cited by:
  1. Horstmann, Ignatius J & Scharf, Kimberley Ann & Slivinski, Al, 2004. "Can Private Giving Promote Economic Segregation?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4354, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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