A Second-Best Theory of Local Government Policy
This paper provides a model where a large number of small jurisdictions compete for mobile firms and households by supplying local public goods and factors. Jurisdictions only have an incomplete set of tax instruments at their disposal to achieve an efficient allocation. We derive second-best behavioral rules for local governments and extend optimal taxation results to the local level. Local governments distort locational decisions of mobile firms and households by taxing them above marginal congestion costs so as to balance relative locational distortions between taxes. The analysis also reveals that there is a systematic difference between the provision of local public goods and factors. While local public goods are provided according to the Samuelson rule in most situations considered, local public factors are undersupplied relative to this rule. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
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