IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Are equalization payments making Canadians better off? A two-dimensional dominance answer

  • Benoît Tarroux


This paper provides a normative appraisal of the Canadian equalization transfers system. For that sake, the two-dimensional dominance criteria introduced by Atkinson and Bourguignon(RES, 1982) are used to compare the distributions of private and public good before and after equalization payments. As the distribution before equalization is not observable, one simulates it on the basis of various scenarios which specify both its financing by the federal government and its utilization by provincial governments. The results show that Canadian equalization payments never improve social welfare for all utilitarian social planners who believe that household convert public and private goods into well-being by a utility function belonging to the classes that corresponds to the Atkinson and Bourguignon criteria. A further parametric restriction on the class of utility functions however enables to get more precise results.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal The Journal of Economic Inequality.

Volume (Year): 10 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 19-44

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:19-44
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Jean-Yves Duclos & David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 943-968, October.
  2. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
  3. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
  4. Robin W. Boadway & Frank R. Flatters, 1982. "Efficiency and Equalization Payments in a Federal System of Government: A Synthesis and Extension of Recent Results," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(4), pages 613-33, November.
  5. Foster, James E, 1998. "Absolute versus Relative Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 335-41, May.
  6. Kaur, Amarjot & Prakasa Rao, B.L.S. & Singh, Harshinder, 1994. "Testing for Second-Order Stochastic Dominance of Two Distributions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 849-866, December.
  7. GRAVEL, Nicolas & POITEVIN, Michel, 2004. "The Progressivity of Equalization Payments in Federations," Cahiers de recherche 14-2004, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  8. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2006. "Ethically Robust Comparisons of Distributions of Two Individual Attributes," IDEP Working Papers 0605, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Aug 2006.
  9. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  10. Robin Boadway, 2003. "The Theory and Practice of Equalization," Working Papers 1016, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  11. Valentino Dardanoni & Antonio Forcina, 1999. "Inference for Lorenz curve orderings," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(1), pages 49-75.
  12. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  13. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  14. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
  15. Russell Davidson, 2006. "Stochastic Dominance," Departmental Working Papers 2006-19, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  16. William G. Watson, 1986. "An Estimate of the Welfare Gain from Fiscal Equalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(2), pages 298-308, May.
  17. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  18. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff & Maurice Marchand, 2003. "Equalization and the Decentralization of Revenue-Raising in a Federation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 201-228, 04.
  19. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
  20. Nicolas Gravel, 2007. "Is India Better off Today Than 15 Years Ago? A Robust Multidimensional Answer," Working Papers id:1056, eSocialSciences.
  21. Kathleen M. Day, 1992. "Interprovincial Migration and Local Public Goods," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 123-44, February.
  22. Kathleen M. Day & Stanley L. Winer, 2001. "Policy-induced Migration in Canada: An Empirical Study," Carleton Economic Papers 01-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:10:y:2012:i:1:p:19-44. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.