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Optimal Design of Intergovernmental Grants under Asymmetric Information

  • Bernd Huber
  • Marco Runkel

This paper develops a theoretical explanation why it may be optimal for higher-level governments to pay categorical block grants or closed-ended matching grants to local governments. We consider a federation with two types of local governments which differ in the cost of providing public goods. The federal government redistributes between jurisdictions, but cannot observe the type of a jurisdiction. In this asymmetric information setting it is shown that the second-best optimum can be decentralized with the help of categorical block grants and closed-ended matching grants, but not with unconditional block grants or open-ended matching grants.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2003/wp-cesifo-2003-04/cesifo_wp919.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 919.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_919
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  1. Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, . "Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information," Working Papers 93, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  3. Richard C. Cornes & Emilson C. D. Silva, 2003. "Public Good Mix in a Federation with Incomplete Information," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 381-397, 04.
  4. Lockwood, Ben, 1999. "Inter-regional insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-37, April.
  5. Bird, Richard M. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers: International Lessons for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 899-912, June.
  6. Bucovetsky, S. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1998. "Tax Competition and Revelation of Preferences for Public Expenditure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 367-390, November.
  7. Baretti, Christian & Huber, Bernd & Lichtblau, Karl, 2002. "A Tax on Tax Revenue: The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 20129, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Cornes, Richard C. & Silva, Emilson C. D., 2002. "Local public goods, inter-regional transfers and private information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 329-356, February.
  9. Horst Raff & John Wilson, 1997. "Income Redistribution with Well-Informed Local Governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 407-427, November.
  10. Bev Dahlby, 1996. "Fiscal externalities and the design of intergovernmental grants," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 397-412, July.
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