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Expenditure Competition

  • John Douglas Wilson


    (Michigan State University)

  • Roger H. Gordon

    (University of California, San Diego)

Given the temptation by government officials to use some of their budget for "perks," residents face the problem of inducing officials to reduce such "waste." The threat to vote out of office officials who perform poorly is one possible response. In this paper, we explore how the competition for residents induced by fiscal decentralization affects "waste" in government. We find that such competition reduces waste, raises the utility of residents, and increases the desired supplies of public goods (potentially above the levels that jurisdictions would choose if they could coordinate). These results are in sharp contrast to the presumed effects from "tax competition," and suggest an additional advantage of fiscal decentralization. Copyright 2003 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): 5 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 399-417

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:399-417
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  1. Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
  2. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
  3. John Anderson & Hendrik van den Berg, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Government Size: An International Test for Leviathan Accounting for Unmeasured Economic Activity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 171-186, May.
  4. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "The Incentive Effects of Property Taxes on Local Governments," NBER Working Papers 4987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
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