Beneficiary Charges: The Cinderella of Subnational Finance
The revenue objective to cover the identifiable costs (in full or partly) is important with respect to both fees and charges. All revenue sources -- taxes, fees, fines and user charges -- are instruments of cost recovery to meet the financial obligations of public administration and the public and private supply of public goods and services. In the case of publicly supplied local goods, such as public administration, public education, health services, street lighting and sanitation, cost recovery may not be the dominant objective. But cost recovery is tremendously significant in the case of privately supplied local public goods, such as water supply, sewerage, electricity and telephone. In recent years, user fees and charges have gained significance at the sub-national level mainly because of hard local budget constraints. Recession resulted in drastic cuts in intergovernmental transfers and reduced access to market loans. According to the 2009 International City and County Management (ICMA) State Survey in the US, for instance, 46 percent of reporting local governments increased existing fees by 23 percent and added new levies for additional funds (Ebel and Petersen, 2012). While these trends are encouraging, there is no systematic research to assess the efficacy of local government in collecting fees and user charges vis-à-vis performance of other institutional arrangements such as off- budget supply and privatization. The structure of this paper is as follows. Section 2 discusses the principles and practices of user fees and charges and their revenue potential. Section 3 analyzes factors adversely impacting the growth of beneficiary charges in local government budgets, including the centralization of revenue, intergovernmental fiscal transfers, and alternative fiscal strategies such as tax earmarking and piggybacking. Section 4 examines the trade-off between budgetary and privatization regimes of water supply and the efficacy of cost recovery policies. Section 5 examines the implications of water utility policies for full and partial cost recovery vis-à-vis the marginal cost of public funds. This section also includes an analysis of the impact of willingness to pay for water on the marginal cost of public funds. An empirical analysis is carried out using the results of a contingent valuation survey in Mauritius and estimating an empirical model for measuring the welfare effects of water charges in terms of the willingness to pay and the cost of providing water. When willingness to pay exceeds the average cost of supplying water, the marginal cost of public funds is reduced, thus increasing the revenue potential of water charges. The last section concludes with policy implications.
|Date of creation:||31 May 2010|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 404-413-0235|
Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html
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.:
- G. Gulsun Arikan, 2008. "How Privatizations Affect the Level of Perceived Corruption," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(6), pages 706-727, November.
- James M. Buchanan, 1963. "The Economics of Earmarked Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 457.
- Richard M. Bird, 2005. "Evaluating Public Expenditures: Does It Matter How They are Financed?," International Tax Program Papers 0506, International Tax Program, Institute for International Business, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
- Hellwig, Martin F., 2005.
"A utilitarian approach to the provision and pricing of excludable public goods,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 1981-2003, December.
- Hellwig, Martin, 2003. "A Utilitarian Approach to the Provision and Pricing of Excludable Public Goods," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 03-36, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999.
"The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law,"
NBER Working Papers
6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Zhuravskaya Ekatherina, 2000.
"Incentives to Provide Local Public Goods: Fiscal Federalism, Russian Style,"
EERC Working Paper Series
99-15e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
- Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina V., 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 337-368, June.
- Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Working Papers w0001, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
- David S Saal & David Parker, 2000. "The impact of privatization and regulation on the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales: a translog cost function model," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 253-268.
- Saal, David S & Parker, David, 2001. "Productivity and Price Performance in the Privatized Water and Sewerage Companies of England and Wales," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 61-90, July.
- Ken Gwilliam & Ajay Kumar, 2003. "How Effective Are Second-Generation Road Funds? A Preliminary Appraisal," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 18(1), pages 113-128.
- Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1990.
"Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods,"
NBER Working Papers
3506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1992. "Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 117-131, Summer.
- Seroa da Motta, Ronaldo & Moreira, Ajax, 2006. "Efficiency and regulation in the sanitation sector in Brazil," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 185-195, September.
- Antonio Estache & Martin Rossi, 2002.
"How different is the efficiency of Public and Private Water Companies in Asia,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/43984, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Antonio Estache & MartÌn A. Rossi, 2002. "How Different Is the Efficiency of Public and Private Water Companies in Asia?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(1), pages 139-148, June.
- Yeti Nisha Madhoo, 2007. "International Trends In Water Utility Regimes," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 78(1), pages 87-135, 03.
- Yeti Nisha Madhoo, 2009. "Policy and nonpolicy determinants of progressivity of block residential water rates - a case study of Mauritius," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 211-215.
- Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
- Thomas J. Nechyba, 1996.
"Local Property and State Income Taxes: The Role of Interjurisdictional Competition and Collusion,"
NBER Working Papers
5419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nechyba, Thomas J, 1997. "Local Property and State Income Taxes: The Role of Interjurisdictional Competition and Collusion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 351-84, April.
- Sven Jari Stehn & Annalisa Fedelino, 2009. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the German Equalization System," IMF Working Papers 09/124, International Monetary Fund.
- Goodspeed, Timothy J., 2000. "Tax structure in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 493-506, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1317. 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: (Paul Benson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.