Efficiency and the optimal direction of federal-state transfers
It seems to be widely believed that the case for centralising revenue-raising is stronger than that for centralising expenditure decisions, so that federal governments should typically make transfers to lower level "state" governments. This paper argues, however, that pure efficiency considerations may plausibly point in exactly the opposite direction. This arises becauses of a "vertical" fiscal externality: the typical state may neglect the impact that its tax decisions have on the federal tax base. The optimal federal response is to internalise this distortion of state decisions by means of offsetting subsidy on the common tax base, the financing of which may plausibly require transfers from the states.
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School of Economics Working Papers
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- Robin W. Boadway & Michael Keen, 1994. "Efficiency and the Fiscal Gap in Federal Systems," Working Papers 915, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
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- Russell Krelove, 1992. "Efficient Tax Exporting," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 145-55, February.
- Wellisch, Dietmar, 1994. "Interregional spillovers in the presence of perfect and imperfect household mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 167-184, October.
- Boadway, Robin, 1982. "On the Method of Taxation and the Provision of Local Public Goods: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 846-51, September.
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