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The Use of Public Expenditures for Redistributive Purposes


  • Boadway, Robin
  • Marchand, Maurice


Governments use expenditures extensively as redistributive devices. Examples include the public provision of health, education, welfare, and public pensions. The authors' purpose is to investigate the normative rationale for such policies. In particular, they study the role of government expenditures as purely redistributive devices given that the government also uses an optimal nonlinear income tax. The authors assume that public provision to an individual cannot be related to individual characteristics or income, so it is uniform across individuals. They derive a set of sufficient conditions for the use of public expenditures and apply it to the examples of education and pensions. Copyright 1995 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice, 1995. "The Use of Public Expenditures for Redistributive Purposes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 45-59, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:47:y:1995:i:1:p:45-59

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pazner, Elisha A, 1972. "Merit Wants and the Theory of Taxation," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 27(4), pages 460-472.
    2. Mirrlees, J. A., 1976. "Optimal tax theory : A synthesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 327-358, November.
    3. Christiansen, Vidar, 1984. "Which commodity taxes should supplement the income tax?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 195-220, July.
    4. Neary, J. P. & Roberts, K. W. S., 1980. "The theory of household behaviour under rationing," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 25-42, January.
    5. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059, June.
    6. Besley, Timothy, 1988. "A simple model for merit good arguments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 371-383, April.
    7. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    8. Sandmo, Agnar, 1983. "Ex Post Welfare Economics and the Theory of Merit Goods," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 19-33, February.
    9. Mirrless, J. A., 1975. "Optimal commodity taxation in a two-class economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 27-33, February.
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