Assistance to the poor in a federal system
This paper explores the roles of different levels of government in assisting the poor. Using a model with utility interdependence, the paper presents some theoretical results on how levels of poor relief vary with the extent of mobility of the poor under both centralized and decentralized systems of support. After surveying the relevant empirical work and the experience under the English Poor Laws, the paper argues for a basic role for central government in this function.
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