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The Political Economy of Publicly Provided Private Goods

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  • Blomquist, Sören

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Christiansen, Vidar

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

A large share of public funds is spent on private goods (education, health care, day care, etc.). This paper integrates two different approaches to the analysis of public provision of private goods. While normative public economics has established an efficiency case for such provision, the commonly held political economy view has been that it is an economically inefficient phenomenon generated by the political process. The present paper argues that the central mechanism studied in the normative approach is equally relevant to voting models of decisions on public provision. It is shown that under plausible information constraints economically efficient public provision of private goods will be part of politically rational decisions emerging from a median voter process or a representative democracy of political parties.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 1998:14.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jun 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, 1999, pages 31-54.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1998_014

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Email:
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: political economy; public provision; private goods; in-kind transfers;

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References

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  1. Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 1996. "The political economy of mixed public and private schooling: A dynamic analysis," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 297-310, July.
  2. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice, 1995. "The Use of Public Expenditures for Redistributive Purposes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 45-59, January.
  3. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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  5. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1996. "Social Insurance, Incentives and Risk Taking," Munich Reprints in Economics 19834, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, And Efficiency In Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529, May.
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  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1991. "Public Provision of Private Goods and the Redistribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 979-84, September.
  9. Blomquist, Sören & Christiansen, Vidar, 1997. "Price Subsidies versus Public Provision," Working Paper Series 1997:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. Guesnerie, Roger & Roberts, Kevin, 1984. "Effective Policy Tools and Quantity Controls," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 59-86, January.
  11. 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.
  12. Miguel Gouveia, 1996. "The public sector and health care," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 329-349, July.
  13. Henry Ohlsson & Michael Lundholm, 1998. "Wages, taxes and publicly provided day care," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 185-204.
  14. Stern, Nicholas, 1982. "Optimum taxation with errors in administration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-211, March.
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  17. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
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  19. 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.
  20. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  22. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1996. "A Theory of the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 4856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Bergstrom, T. & Blomqust, S., 1993. "The Political Econmomy of Subsidized Day Care," Papers 1993-15, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  25. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
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  27. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Robin W. Boadway & Maurice Marchand, 1990. "The Use of Public Expenditure for Distributive Purpose," Working Papers 796, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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