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Rethinking Federalism

  • Robert P. Inman
  • Daniel L. Rubinfeld
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    The appropriate federal structure of government is now a policy issue of major debate. This paper identifies three approaches and compares their strengths and weaknesses. Economic federalism recommends the use of competitive communities for the provision of congestible local goods and a strong central government for the provision of pure public goods and spillovers. Cooperative federalism recommends intercommunity agreements; democratic federalism prefers a majority-rule representative legislature. Efficiency will sometimes conflict with other constitutional objectives--political participation and the protection of rights--and compromises will often be required.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.11.4.43
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 11 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 43-64

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:11:y:1997:i:4:p:43-64
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.4.43
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    1. Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1982. "Micro Estimates of Public Spending Demand Functions and Tests of the Tiebout and Median-Voter Hypotheses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 536-60, June.
    2. Howard Chernick, 1998. "Fiscal Effects of Block Grants for the Needy: An Interpretation of the Evidence," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 205-233, May.
    3. Martin Feldstein & Marian Vaillant, 1994. "Can State Taxes Redistribute Income?," NBER Working Papers 4785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Myers, Gordon M., 1990. "Optimality, free mobility, and the regional authority in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 107-121, October.
    5. Ted Bergstrom & Judy Roberts & Dan Rubinfeld & Perry Shapiro, 1988. "A Test for Efficiency in the Supply of Local Public Education," Papers _036, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
    6. Bergstrom, Theodore C. & Roberts, Judith A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L. & Shapiro, Perry, 1988. "A test for efficiency in the supply of public education," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 289-307, April.
    7. Blank, Rebecca M., 1988. "The effect of welfare and wage levels on the location decisions of female-headed households," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 186-211, September.
    8. Easterbrook, Frank H, 1983. "Antitrust and the Economics of Federalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 23-50, April.
    9. Coates, Dennis & Munger, Michael C, 1995. " Strategizing in Small Group Decision-Making: Host State Identification for Radioactive Waste Disposal among Eight Southern States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 82(1-2), pages 1-15, January.
    10. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
    11. Quigley, John M. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1996. "Federalism and Reductions in the Federal Budget," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt28h7485r, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    12. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
    13. Weingast, Barry R, 1995. "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, April.
    14. Feldstein, Martin & Wrobel, Marian Vaillant, 1994. "Can State Taxes Redistribute Income?," Scholarly Articles 2799054, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    15. Inman, Robert P & Fitts, Michael A, 1990. "Political Institutions and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Historical Record," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 79-132.
    16. Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 1993. "An analysis of returns to scale in public production, with an application to fire protection," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 49-72, August.
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