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A Tiebout theory of public vs private provision of collective goods

  • Glomm, Gerhard
  • Lagunoff, Roger

We study whether "coercive" public provision or voluntary private provision of public goods can survive when individuals who "vote with their feet" can choose between communities that differ in the way that public goods are provided. We obtain the following findings: (i) an equilibrium always exists in which all individuals to the community which uses voluntary provision; (ii) under very robust conditions on preferences and income distribution, an equilibrium exists in which all individuals migrate to the community which uses coercive provision; (iii) "interior" equilibria in which collections of individuals move to both communities exist when income distribution is sufficiently polarized. Such equilibria are shown to be stratified -- richer individuals migrate to the community with voluntary provision while poorer individuals reside in the public provision community. In the case where there are two types of wealth endowments, existence of stratified equilibria seems to require a negative tradeoff between the wealth ratio of the rich to the poor and the numerical ratio of rich to poor in society.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 91-112

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:68:y:1998:i:1:p:91-112
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1988. "Fundamentals of Public Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121271, June.
  2. Dan Usher, 1976. "The Welfare Economics of the Socialization of Commodities," Working Papers 218, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1992. "Individuals and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 317-22, May.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  5. Gensemer, Susan & Hong, Lu & Kelly, Jerry S., 1996. "Division Rules and Migration Equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 104-116, April.
  6. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1989. "Public Provision Of Private Goods And The Redistribution Of Income," Papers 36, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  7. Bergstrom, Ted C, 1979. " When Does Majority Rule Supply Public Goods Efficiently?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 216-26.
  8. Greenberg, Joseph, 1983. "Local public goods with mobility: Existence and optimality of a general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 17-33, June.
  9. Wooders, Myrna, 1978. "Equilibria, the core, and jurisdiction structures in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 328-348, August.
  10. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  11. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  12. Scotchmer, Suzanne & Wooders, Myrna Holtz, 1987. "Competitive equilibrium and the core in club economies with anonymous crowding," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 159-173, November.
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