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The dual nature of public goods and congestion: the role of fiscal policy revisited

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  • Santanu Chatterjee
  • Sugata Ghosh

Abstract

The role of fiscal policy is examined when public goods provide both productive and utility services. In the presence of congestion, the consumption tax is shown to be distortionary. Optimal fiscal policy involves using consumption‐based instruments in conjunction with the income tax. An income tax‐financed increase in government spending dominates both lump‐sum and consumption tax‐financing. Replacing the lump‐sum tax with an income tax to finance a given level of spending dominates introducing an equivalent consumption tax. These results contrast sharply with the literature, where the consumption tax is generally viewed as the least distortionary source of public finance. On ré‐examine le rôle de la politique fiscale quand les biens publics fournissent à la fois des services productifs et de bien‐être. Quand il y a congestion, on montre que la taxe sur la consommation crée des distorsions. La politique fiscale optimale consiste à faire bon usage des taxes sur la consommation en conjonction avec l’impôt sur le revenu. Une dépense gouvernementale financée par l’impôt sur le revenu est préférable à un financement par un paiement forfaitaire ou une taxe sur la consommation. Remplacer le paiement forfaitaire par un impôt sur le revenu pour financer un niveau donné de dépense vaut mieux qu’introduire une taxe équivalente sur la consommation. Ces résultats contrastent vivement avec ce qu’on trouve dans la littérature spécialisée, où l’on considère généralement la taxe sur la consommation comme la source de finance publique qui crée le moins de distorsion.

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  • Santanu Chatterjee & Sugata Ghosh, 2011. "The dual nature of public goods and congestion: the role of fiscal policy revisited," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 44(4), pages 1471-1496, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:44:y:2011:i:4:p:1471-1496
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5982.2011.01681.x
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    Cited by:

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    2. Ghosh, Sugata & Wendner, Ronald, 2014. "Positional Preferences, Endogenous Growth, and Optimal Income- and Consumption Taxation," MPRA Paper 60337, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Agénor, Pierre-Richard, 2016. "Optimal fiscal management of commodity price shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 183-196.
    4. Felice, Giulia, 2016. "Size and composition of public investment, sectoral composition and growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 136-158.
    5. Germaschewski, Yin, 2020. "Stabilization policy, infrastructure investment, and welfare in a small open economy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 322-339.
    6. David Klenert & Linus Mattauch & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2014. "Infrastructure and Inequality: Insights from Incorporating Key Economic Facts about Household Heterogeneity," CESifo Working Paper Series 4972, CESifo.
    7. Aman A. Bara and Bidisha Chakraborty, 2019. "Is Public-private Partnership an Optimal Mode of Provision of Infrastructure?," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 44(1), pages 97-123, March.
    8. Klenert, David & Mattauch, Linus & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Lessmann, Kai, 2018. "Infrastructure And Inequality: Insights From Incorporating Key Economic Facts About Household Heterogeneity," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(4), pages 864-895, June.
    9. Santanu Chatterjee & Olaf Posch & Dennis Wesselbaum, 2017. "Delays in Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 6341, CESifo.
    10. Dashkeev, Vladimir V & Turnovsky, Stephen J, 2018. "Balanced-budget rules and risk-sharing in a fiscal union," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 277-298.
    11. Chatterjee, Santanu & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2012. "Infrastructure and inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1730-1745.
    12. Santanu Chatterjee & Olaf Posch & Dennis Wesselbaum, 2017. "Delays in Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 6341, CESifo.
    13. Sugata Ghosh & Trishita Ray Barman & Manash Ranjan Gupta, 2020. "Are short‐term effects of pollution important for growth and optimal fiscal policy?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1262-1288, September.
    14. Erauskin, Iñaki & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2020. "Financial globalization and its consequences for productive government expenditure," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    15. Escobar-Posada, Rolando A. & Monteiro, Goncalo, 2015. "Long-run growth and welfare in a two sector endogenous growth model with productive and non-productive government expenditure," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 218-234.
    16. Zhang, Lifeng & Ru, Yucong & Li, Jingkui, 2016. "Optimal tax structure and public expenditure composition in a simple model of endogenous growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 352-360.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures

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