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Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Tax Policy

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  • Dixit, Avinash K
  • Grossman, Gene
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

We develop a model of common agency with complete information and general preferences with non-transferable utility, and prove that the principals’ Nash equilibrium in truthful strategies implements an efficient action. We apply this theory to construct a positive model of public finance, where organized special interests can lobby the government for consumer and producer taxes or subsidies and targeted lump-sum taxes or transfers. The lobbies use only the non-distorting transfers in their non-cooperative equilibrium, but their inter-group competitition for transfers turns into a prisoners’ dilemma in which the government captures all the gain that is potentially available to the parties. Therefore, we suggest that pressure groups capable of sustaining an ex-ante agreement will make a commitment to forgo direct transfers and to confine their lobbying to distorting taxes and subsidies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1436.

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Date of creation: Jul 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1436

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Keywords: Common Agency; Tax Policy;

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Cited by:
  1. Lahiri, Sajal & Raimondos-Møller, Pascalis, 2000. "Special Interest Politics and Aid Fungibility," CEPR Discussion Papers 2482, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cecilia Testa, 2003. "Government Corruption and Legislative Procedures: is One Chamber Better Than Two?," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 41, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Coate, Stephen, 2000. "An Efficiency Approach to the Evaluation of Policy Changes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 437-55, April.
  4. Schleich, Joachim & Orden, David, 1996. "Efficient choice among domestic and trade policies in the Grossman-Helpman Interest-Group Model," Bulletins 7458, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  5. Marcel Vaillant, 1998. "Endogenous number of lobby groups in a specific factor trade model," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0198, Department of Economics - dECON.
  6. Rafael S. Espinosa Ramirez & Ana Torres Mata, 2004. "Corrupcion, inversion extranjera directa y reformas institucionales," EconoQuantum, Revista de Economia y Negocios, Universidad de Guadalajara, Centro Universitario de Ciencias Economico Administrativas, Departamento de Metodos Cuantitativos y Maestria en Economia., vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, Julio-Dic.

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