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Taxes, Public Goods and the Ruling Class

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  • Merwan Engineer

Abstract

Alternative theories of government behaviour yield conflicting prescriptions for public finance ranging from Samuelson's (1954) rule for the provision of public goods to Brennan and Buchanan's (1977) "Tax Constitution for Leviathan." This paper presents a general model which subsumes these rules as polar cases. The ruling class is modelled as maximizing its own welfare exclusively in the choice of public goods, nonnegative lump sum payments and excise tax rates. At one pole, where everybody is a member of the ruling class, the rules use a comprehensive and efficient excise tax base. At the other pole, when there is only one rule, the subject's interests are best defended by a restricted and inefficient tax base which enables subjects to substitute away from goods that are heavily taxed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 672.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 1986
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:672

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Cited by:
  1. Stergios Skaperdas, 2011. "Proprietary Public Finance: On its Emergence and Evolution out of Anarchy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3495, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.

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