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Equality of Opportunity and Optimal Cash and In-Kind Policies

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  • Leonardo Gasparini

    ()
    (Centro de Estudios Distributivos, Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - FCE - UNLP)

  • Santiago Pinto

    ()
    (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)

Abstract

This paper examines the argument for public provision of certain private goods, like education and health, based on equality of opportunity by studying the utility possibility frontier of a society in which there is a concern for the distribution of these goods. A given quality of education or health services can be consumed for free in the public sector, but people can opt-out and purchase their desired quality levels in the private sector. Some of the conclusions are: (i) a pure cash transfer is optimal when the utility redistribution is either “sufficiently” small or large; (ii) if and only if both the equality-of-opportunity concern and the utility redistribution are large enough, can an in-kind program which attracts the whole population be justified; (iii) even when everybody chooses the in-kind program, it may be optimal to perform some additional utility redistribution by increasing the size of such program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata in its series CEDLAS, Working Papers with number 0022.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dls:wpaper:0022

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Keywords: equality of opportunity; redistribution; education; in-kind;

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References

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  1. Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1988. "Transfers in Kind: Why They Can Be Efficient and Non-Paternalistic," UCLA Economics Working Papers 532, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Sandmo, Agnar, 1983. "Ex Post Welfare Economics and the Theory of Merit Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 19-33, February.
  3. Blomquist, Soren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1998. "Topping Up or Opting Out? The Optimal Design of Public Provision Schemes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 399-411, May.
  4. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Government Intervention in the Markets for Education and Health Care: How and Why?," NBER Chapters, in: Individual and Social Responsibility: Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-Term Care in America, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Miguel Gouveia, 1997. "Majority rule and the public provision of a private good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 221-244, December.
  6. Boadway, R. & Marchand, M., . "The use of public expenditures for redistributive purposes," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1131, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Pinto, Santiago M., 2004. "Assistance to poor households when income is not observed: targeted in-kind and in-cash transfers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 536-553, November.
  8. Blomquist, Soren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1999. "The political economy of publicly provided private goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 31-54, July.
  9. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1989. "Public Provision Of Private Goods And The Redistribution Of Income," Papers 36, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
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  11. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1997. "In-kind transfers, self-selection and optimal tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 97-114, January.
  12. Leonardo Gasparini & Santiago Pinto, 2005. "Equality of Opportunity and Optimal Cash and In-Kind Policies," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0022, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  13. Peltzman, Sam, 1973. "The Effect of Government Subsidies-in-Kind on Private Expenditures: The Case of Higher Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(1), pages 1-27, Jan.-Feb..
  14. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
  15. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
  16. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-77, May.
  17. Barr, Nicholas, 1992. "Economic Theory and the Welfare State: A Survey and Interpretation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 741-803, June.
  18. Blomquist, Suren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1995. " Public Provision of Private Goods as a Redistributive Device in an Optimum Income Tax Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 547-67, December.
  19. Ganderton, Philip T., 1992. "The effect of subsidies in kind on the choice of a college," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 269-292, August.
  20. Tobin, James, 1970. "On Limiting the Domain of Inequality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 263-77, October.
  21. Archibald, G. C. & Donaldson, David, 1979. "Notes on economic equality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 205-214, October.
  22. Garfinkel, Irwin, 1973. "Is In-Kind Redistribution Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 320-30, May.
  23. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Cash versus Kind, Self-selection, and Efficient Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 691-700, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-83, June.
  2. Gasparini, Leonardo C. & Pinto, Santiago M., 2006. "Equality of opportunity and optimal cash and in-kind policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 143-169, January.
  3. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ryan Cooper & Sebastian Martinez & Adam Ross & Raimundo Undurraga, 2013. "Shelter from the Storm: Upgrading Housing Infrastructure in Latin American Slums," NBER Working Papers 19322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Leopoldo Tornarolli & Adriana Conconi, 2007. "Informalidad y Movilidad Laboral: Un Análisis Empírico para Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0059, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  5. Paula Giovagnoli, 2007. "Failures in school progression," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0050, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  6. Diego Battiston & Francisco Franchetti, 2008. "Inequality in Health Coverage, Empirical Analysis with Microdata for Argentina 2006," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0063, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  7. Maribel Jimenez & Monica Jimenez, 2009. "La Movilidad Intergeneracional del Ingreso: Evidencia para Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0084, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  8. Ricardo Bebczuk, 2009. "SME Access to Credit in Guatemala and Nicaragua: Challenging Conventional Wisdom with New Evidence," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0080, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  9. Ricardo N. Bebczuk, 2008. "Dolarización y Pobreza en Ecuador," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0066, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  10. Lopez-Rodriguez, David, 2011. "The Political Economy of In-Kind Redistribution," MPRA Paper 44152, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2012.
  11. Mariana Marchionni & Germán Bet & Ana Pacheco, 2007. "Empleo, Educación y Entorno Social de los Jóvenes: Una Nueva Fuente de Información," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0061, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  12. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households and Firms," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0047, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  13. Walter Sosa Escudero & Anil K. Bera, 2008. "Tests for Unbalanced Error Component Models Under Local Misspecication," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0065, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  14. Ricardo Bebczuk & Francisco Haimovich, 2007. "MDGs and Microcredit: An Empirical Evaluation for Latin American Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0048, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

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