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Taxes or Fees? The Political Economy of Providing Excludable Public Goods

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  • Kurtis J. Swope
  • Eckhard Janeba

Abstract

This paper provides a positive analysis of public provision of excludable public goods financed by uniform taxes or fees. Individuals differing in preferences decide using majority-rule the provision level and financing instrument. The median preference individual is the decisive voter in a tax regime, while an individual with preferences above the median generally determines the fee in a fee regime. Numerical solutions indicate that populations with uniform or left-skewed distributions of preferences choose taxes, while a majority coalition of high and low preference individuals prefer fees when preferences are sufficiently right-skewed. Public good provision under fees exceeds that under taxes in the latter case.

Suggested Citation

  • Kurtis J. Swope & Eckhard Janeba, 2001. "Taxes or Fees? The Political Economy of Providing Excludable Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 542, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_542
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2020. "On the Provision of Excludable Public Goods - General Taxes or User Prices?," CESifo Working Paper Series 8724, CESifo.
    3. Alexander Kemnitz, 2013. "A Simple Model of Health Insurance Competition," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(4), pages 432-448, November.
    4. Fuest, Clemens & Kolmar, Martin, 2007. "A theory of user-fee competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 497-509, April.
    5. Economides, George & Philippopoulos, Apostolis & Sakkas, Stelios, 2017. "Tuition fees: User prices and private incentives," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 91-103.
    6. George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2012. "Are User Fees Really Regressive?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3875, CESifo.
    7. Clemens Fuest & Martin Kolmar, 2013. "Endogenous free riding and the decentralized user-fee financing of spillover goods in a n-region economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 169-191, April.

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