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User Charges as Redistributive Devices

  • Balestrino, Alessandro

In this model, a mix of public and private provision of private goods arises naturally in the economy. We characterize the social optimum in the presence of a linear tax/public expenditure system and show how a user charge can be welfare- or Pareto-improving, when the users are the poor. The charge discourages the rich from opting into the public program and allows the policymaker to restructure the tax/expenditure system in a way that is beneficial for the poor. If the ensuing welfare gain is large enough to outweigh the loss for the remaining users, a charge is desirable. Copyright 1999 by Blackwell Publishing Inc.

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Article provided by Association for Public Economic Theory in its journal Journal of Public Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 1 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 511-24

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:1:y:1999:i:4:p:511-24
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Alistair Munro, 1990. "Self-Selection and Optimal In-Kind Transfers," Working Papers Series 90/3, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
  4. Balestrino, Alessandro, 1999. " The Desirability of In-Kind Transfers in the Presence of Distortionary Taxes," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 333-54, September.
  5. Anderberg, Dan, 1999. "Determining the mix of public and private provision of insurance by majority rule," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 417-440, September.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Guesnerie, Roger & Roberts, Kevin, 1984. "Effective Policy Tools and Quantity Controls," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(1), pages 59-86, January.
  9. 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).
  10. Alessandro BALESTRINO, 1995. "Public Provision of Private Goods and User Charges," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1995043, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  11. Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "In-Kind versus Cash Transfers in the Presence of Distortionary Taxes," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(1), pages 45-53, January.
  12. Neary, J.P & Roberts, K.W.S, 1978. "The Theory of Household Behaviour under Rationing," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 132, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  13. Ireland, Norman J., 1990. "The mix of social and private provision of goods and services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 201-219, November.
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  15. Robin W. Boadway & Maurice Marchand, 1990. "The Use of Public Expenditure for Distributive Purpose," Working Papers 796, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Besley, Timothy, 1991. " Welfare Improving User Charges for Publicly Provided Private Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(4), pages 495-510.
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