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Public investment, taxation, and long-run output in economies with multi-level governments


  • Bodman, Philip
  • Campbell, Harry
  • Le, Thanh


This paper examines the dynamic effects of taxation and investment on the steady state output level of an economy. A simple neoclassical growth model with different tiers of government is developed. The initial focus is on governments that aim to maximise their citizens' welfare and economic performance by providing consumption goods for private consumption and public capital for private production. It is shown that a long-run per capita output maximising tax rate can be derived and that there also exists an optimal degree of fiscal decentralisation. The analysis then extends to the case where governments attempt instead to maximise their own tax revenue to fund expenditures which do not contribute to the utility of their citizens. Three different cases of taxation arrangement are considered: tax competition, tax sharing, and tax coordination. The modeling shows that intensifying tax competition will lead to an increase in the aggregate tax rate as compared to the cases of sharing and coordination amongst governments. These tax rates are both higher than the long-run per capita output maximising rate that was implied under the welfare maximising government scenario.

Suggested Citation

  • Bodman, Philip & Campbell, Harry & Le, Thanh, 2012. "Public investment, taxation, and long-run output in economies with multi-level governments," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1603-1611.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:29:y:2012:i:5:p:1603-1611 DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2012.05.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sefa Awaworyi Churchill & Mehmet Ugur & Siew Ling Yew, 2017. "Does Government Size Affect Per-Capita Income Growth? A Hierarchical Meta-Regression Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(300), pages 142-171, March.
    2. Goel, Rajeev K. & Mazhar, Ummad & Nelson, Michael A. & Ram, Rati, 2017. "Different forms of decentralization and their impact on government performance: Micro-level evidence from 113 countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 171-183.
    3. Feder, Christophe & Kataishi, Rodrigo Ezequiel, 2017. "Decentralization in Heterogeneous Regions: A Biased Technological Change Approach," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201703, University of Turin.
    4. Getachew, Yoseph Yilma, 2016. "Credit constraints, growth and inequality dynamics," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 364-376.
    5. Soumaré, Issouf & Lai, Van Son, 2016. "An analysis of government loan guarantees and direct investment through public-private partnerships," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 508-519.

    More about this item


    Fiscal decentralisation; Welfare versus revenue maximising governments; Output maximising tax rate; Tax competition; Tax sharing; Tax coordination;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games


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