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Welfare Improving User Charges for Publicly Provided Private Goods

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  • Besley, Timothy

Abstract

It is argued that free provision of publicly provided goods or services is rarely optimal. The argument is simple: if optimal lump-sum transfers are not available, then the government will wish to use all handles which provide information about the distribution of welfare. One such handle may be the usage of publicly provided goods and services. As long as this is not uniform, then it is a potentially valuable index for redistributive purposes. This is illustrated using two models--one in which usage of the publicly provided good is legislated by the government and another in which it is determined in part by the private costs of consuming public services. Copyright 1991 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Besley, Timothy, 1991. " Welfare Improving User Charges for Publicly Provided Private Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(4), pages 495-510.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:93:y:1991:i:4:p:495-510
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    1. Brett, Craig, 1998. "A note on nonlinear taxation in an overlapping generations model," MPRA Paper 8776, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Louis Kaplow, 1994. "A Fundamental Objection to Tax Equity Norms: A Call for Utilitarianism," NBER Working Papers 4961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Viard, Alan D, 2001. " Optimal Categorical Transfer Payments: The Welfare Economics of Limited Lump-Sum Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 3(4), pages 483-500.
    9. Hahn, Frank H., 1973. "On optimum taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 96-106, February.
    10. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-1179, September.
    11. Louis Kaplow, 1985. "Horizontal Equity: Measures in Search of a Principle," NBER Working Papers 1679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2001. "On optimal non-linear taxation and public good provision in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 485-501.
    13. Louis Kaplow, 2000. "Horizontal Equity: New Measures, Unclear Principles," NBER Working Papers 7649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 213-240.
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    17. Peter J. Hammond, 1987. "Markets as Constraints: Multilateral Incentive Compatibility in Continuum Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 399-412.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sören Blömquist & Vidar Christiansen, 1998. "Price Subsidies Versus Public Provision," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, pages 283-306.
    2. Fabbri, Daniele & Monfardini, Chiara, 2009. "Rationing the public provision of healthcare in the presence of private supplements: Evidence from the Italian NHS," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 290-304, March.
    3. repec:esr:chaptr:jacb200506 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Akutagawa, Kazunori & Mun, Se-il, 2005. "Private goods provided by local governments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 23-48, January.
    5. Bergstrom, Ted & Blomquist, Soren, 1996. "The political economy of subsidized day care," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, pages 443-457.
    6. Morgenroth, Edgar, 2005. "Waste Collection, Double Taxation and Local Finance," Papers BP2006/4, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    7. Iregui, Ana Maria, 2005. "Decentralised provision of quasi-private goods: The case of Colombia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 683-706, July.
    8. Blomquist, S. & Christiansen, V., 1995. "Topping Up of Opting Out? The Optimal Design of Public Provision Schemes," Papers 1995-13, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    9. Blomquist, Soren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1998. "Topping Up or Opting Out? The Optimal Design of Public Provision Schemes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 399-411, May.
    10. Bergstrom, Ted & Blomquist, Soren, 1996. "The political economy of subsidized day care," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 443-457, November.
    11. Balestrino, Alessandro, 1999. " User Charges as Redistributive Devices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(4), pages 511-524.

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