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Redistribution as a Local Public Good: An Empirical Test for Flemish Municipalities

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  • John Ashworth
  • Bruno Heyndels
  • Carine Smolders

Abstract

Redistribution is typically viewed as a task of the central government. However, in most federal countries local governments do have some discretion in redistribution policy. The main theoretical argument for this is that redistribution may be a local public good (Pauly 1973). Using data on Flemish municipalities, we present a first empirical test of Pauly’s assumption. We find that the willingness to redistribute is negatively affected by the geographical dimension of the responsible government. We extend the notion of distance, considering also sociological, cultural, income and political distances between donors and recipients. We find that, with the exception of income, these are relevant determinants of welfare policy, though they do not always have the predicted effect.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ashworth & Bruno Heyndels & Carine Smolders, 2002. "Redistribution as a Local Public Good: An Empirical Test for Flemish Municipalities," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 27-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:55:y:2002:i:1:p:27-56
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-6435.00176
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-6435.00176
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    Cited by:

    1. Hans-Günter Krüsselberg, 2005. "Milton Friedman und der Wissenschaftliche Beirat für Familienfragen Elternkompetenz und Anteilscheine am Schulbudget – Gedanken über Reformpotenziale," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200506, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Holm, Joshua, 2016. "A model of redistribution under social identification in heterogeneous federations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 39-48.
    3. Ashworth, John & Geys, Benny & Heyndels, Bruno, 2006. "Determinants of tax innovation: The case of environmental taxes in Flemish municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 223-247, March.
    4. Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2006. "Disentangling The Effects Of Political Fragmentation On Voter Turnout: The Flemish Municipal Elections," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 367-387, November.
    5. Bruno S. Frey, 2009. "A New Concept of European Federalism," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 3, London School of Economics / European Institute.
    6. John Ashworth & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Fragmentation And Budgetary Policy In "Good" And "Bad" Times In Flemish Municipalities," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 245-263, July.
    7. Michelsen, Claus & Bönisch, Peter & Rosenfeld, Martin T. W., 2010. "Sharing Competences: The Impact of Local Institutional Settings on Voter Turnout," IWH Discussion Papers 21/2010, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    8. Lunder, Trond Erik, 2016. "Between centralized and decentralized welfare policy: Have national guidelines constrained the influence of local preferences?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-13.
    9. repec:bpj:pewipo:v:1:y:2000:i:2:p:181-198:n:4 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Freier, Ronny & Geys, Benny & Holm, Joshua, 2016. "Religious heterogeneity and fiscal policy: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-12.
    11. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2013. "What drives demand for redistribution? An empirical analysis of other-regarding and self-insurance motives," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1325, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    12. Bouton, Laurent & Gassner, Marjorie & Verardi, Vincenzo, 2008. "Redistributing income under fiscal vertical imbalance," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 317-328, June.
    13. Alessandro Bucciol & Laura Cavalli & Paolo Pertile & Veronica Polin & Alessandro Sommacal, 2016. "Redistribution at the local level: the case of public childcare in Italy," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 63(4), pages 359-378, December.
    14. Laurent Bouton, 2009. "Essays in game theory applied to political and market institutions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/210325, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2005. "Lokale Solidarität: die Zukunft der Sozialhilfe?," Discussion Paper Series 76, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    16. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2014. "Is income redistribution a form of insurance, a public good or both?," Working Papers 2014/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    17. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2006. "Everyone likes a winner: An empirical test of the effect of electoral closeness on turnout in a context of expressive voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 383-405, September.
    18. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "The Role of Direct Democracy and Federalism in Local Power," IEW - Working Papers 209, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    19. Berthold, Norbert & von Berchem, Sascha, 2002. "Sozialhilfe im wettbewerblichen Föderalismus: Erfahrungen der USA, Lehren für Deutschland," Discussion Paper Series 58, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    20. Marjorie Gassner & Laurent Bouton & Vincenzo Verardi, 2007. "Redistributing Income Under Fiscal Vertical Imbalance," LIS Working papers 420, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    21. Audun Langørgen & Dag Rønningen, 2004. "Local government preferences, individual needs, and the allocation of social assistance," Discussion Papers 380, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    22. Feld Lars P., 2000. "Fiskalischer Wettbewerb und Einkommensumverteilung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 181-198, May.
    23. repec:eee:apmaco:v:363:y:2019:i:c:44 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2014. "Is income redistribution a form of insurance, a public good or both?," Working Papers 2014/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    25. Lars P. Feld & Wolfgang Kerber, 2006. "Mehr-Ebenen Jurisdiktionssysteme: Zur variablen Architektur von Integration," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200605, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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