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Centralization Trade-off with Non-Uniform Taxation

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When local public goods are provided by a centralized authority, spillovers are internalized, but heterogeneity in preferences may be suppressed. Besley and Coate (2003) recently examined this classic trade-off for a uniform tax regime with strategic delegation. Here, we extend their approach by allowing for a non-uniform tax regime. We find that centralization with nonuniform taxation unambiguously increases welfare in comparison to uniform-tax centralization. With non-cooperative legislators coming from symmetric districts, our centralization dominates decentralization for any degree of spillovers. In other cases, non-uniform taxation at least improves the odds of centralization, if measured by a utilitarian yardstick.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its journal AUCO Czech Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 223-253

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Handle: RePEc:fau:aucocz:au2007_223

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Keywords: decentralization; taxation; local public goods;

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  1. Redoano, Michela & Scharf, Kimberley Ann, 2002. "The Political Economy of Policy Centralization: Direct Versus Representative Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3631, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Political Uncertainty and Policy Innovation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(5), pages 779-805, December.
  4. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  5. Massimo Bordignon & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2003. "Fiscal Federalism and Endogenous Lobbies' Formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1017, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
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