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Shared Tax Sources in a Leviathan Model of Federalism


  • Marilyn R. Flowers

    (University of Oklahoma)


Separation of the tax sources is often advanced as a norm for the fiscal organization of a federal system of government. This article examines the analytical properties of the separation norm within the context of the Leviathan model of revenue-maximizing government. If two revenue-maximizing units of government at different levels in a federal system share a common tax base, combined tax rates applied to that base will lie on the backward-bending portion of the Laffer curve. A challenge of sorts is presented to the Brennan-Buchanan hypothesis that a federal as opposed to a unitary system of government can act as a constraint on Leviathan. They base their proposition on the existence of competing governments at a single level. However, the essence of federalism is multiple levels of government. This layering needs to be more carefully considered with respect to the implications for restraining Leviathan.

Suggested Citation

  • Marilyn R. Flowers, 1988. "Shared Tax Sources in a Leviathan Model of Federalism," Public Finance Review, , vol. 16(1), pages 67-77, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:16:y:1988:i:1:p:67-77
    DOI: 10.1177/109114218801600103

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