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Equalization and Stabilization

  • Michael Smart

The federal Equalization transfer program makes fiscal resources of "have-not" provinces depend on fiscal conditions in "have" provinces, which tends to destabilize provincial finances: the data show that equalized revenues of receiving provinces are more volatile than own-source revenues. But this reflects the revenue risks facing the aggregate of all provinces, which an equalization program cannot insure. Controlling for aggregate risk, I find that the program has a significant stabilizing effect on provincial finances. Nevertheless, some improvements in revenue-sharing through the program might be contemplated. For example, a return to a national average capacity standard, from the five-province standard which has been in place since 1982, would increase insurance for idiosyncratic shocks by about one-third.

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Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 30 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 195-208

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Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:30:y:2004:i:2:p:195-208
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  1. Robin Boadway & Masayoshi Hayashi, 2003. "An Evaluation of the Stabilization Properties of Equalization in Canada," Working Papers 1015, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Townsend, R.M., 1991. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-3, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  3. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
  4. Melitz, Jacques & Zumer, Frederic, 2002. "Regional redistribution and stabilization by the center in Canada, France, the UK and the US:: A reassessment and new tests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 263-286, November.
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