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Personal redistribution and the regional allocation of public investment

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How should an equity-motivated policy-marker allocate public capital (infrastructure) across regions. Should it aim at reducing interregional differences in per capita output, or at maximizing total output? Such a normative question is examined in a model where the policy-marker is exclusively concerned about personal inequality and has access to two policy instruments. (i) a personal tax-transfer system (taxation is distortionary), and (ii) the regional allocation of public investment. I show that the case for public investment as a significant instrument for interpersonal redistribution is rather weak. In the most favorable case, when the tax code is constrained to be uniform across regions, it is optimal to distort the allocation of public investment in favor of the poor regions, but only to a limited extent. The reason is that poor individuals are relatively more sensitive to public trans fers, which are maximized by allocating public investment efficiently. If! the tax code can vary across regions then the optimal policy may involve an allocation of public investment distorted in favor of the rich regions.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 526.02.

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Length: 20
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:526.02

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Keywords: public investment; regional policy; redistribution;

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  1. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Ramon Caminal, 2002. "Personal redistribution and the regional allocation of public investment," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 526.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  4. Lockwood, Ben, 1999. "Inter-regional insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-37, April.
  5. de la Fuente, Angel, 2002. "Is the Allocation of Public Capital Across the Spanish Regions too Redistributive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Cheikbossian, G., 1997. "Fiscal Federalism, Political Equilibrium and Distributive Politics," DELTA Working Papers 97-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Baxter, Marianne & King, Robert G, 1993. "Fiscal Policy in General Equilibrium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 315-34, June.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 979-1009, October.
  9. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-46, May.
  10. Takahashi, Takaaki, 1998. "On the optimal policy of infrastructure provision across regions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 213-235, March.
  11. Hulten, Charles R. & Schwab, Robert M., 1997. "A fiscal federalism approach to infrastructure policy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 139-159, April.
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
  15. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Does centralization increase the size of government?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 765-773, April.
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Cited by:
  1. de la Fuente, Angel, 2002. "Is the Allocation of Public Capital Across the Spanish Regions too Redistributive?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Caminal, Ramon, 2004. "Personal redistribution and the regional allocation of public investment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 55-69, January.
  3. Jean-Paul Faguet & Mahvish Shami, 2008. "Fiscal policy and spatial inequality in Latin America and beyond," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27162, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Halkos, George & Tzeremes, Nickolaos, 2011. "Population density and regional welfare efficiency," MPRA Paper 30097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Wegener, Stefan & Kiryluk, E., 2008. "Regional aspects of decision-making support for rural development in Poland," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43845, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  6. Angel de la Fuente, . "Infraestructuras y política regional," Studies on the Spanish Economy 122, FEDEA.
  7. Herranz-Loncan, Alfonso, 2007. "Infrastructure investment and Spanish economic growth, 1850-1935," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 452-468, July.
  8. Chetan Ghate & Gerhard Glomm & Jialu Liu, 2012. "Sectoral infrastructure investment in an unbalanced growing economy: The Case of India," Indian Statistical Institute, Planning Unit, New Delhi Discussion Papers 12-07, Indian Statistical Institute, New Delhi, India.
  9. Akiyoshi Furukawa, 2012. "Regional allocation of public investment with transfer policy and agglomeration," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(3), pages 1865-1872.

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