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Optimal Design of Intergovernmental Grants under Asymmetric Information

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  • Bernd Huber
  • Marco Runkel

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bernd Huber & Marco Runkel, 2003. "Optimal Design of Intergovernmental Grants under Asymmetric Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 919, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_919
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Horst Raff & John Wilson, 1997. "Income Redistribution with Well-Informed Local Governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(4), pages 407-427, November.
    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, April.
    4. Lockwood, Ben, 1999. "Inter-regional insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-37, April.
    5. Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Optimal Regional Redistribution under Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 709-723, June.
    6. Bev Dahlby, 1996. "Fiscal externalities and the design of intergovernmental grants," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(3), pages 397-412, July.
    7. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    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. 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.
    10. Bird, Richard M. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers: International Lessons for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 899-912, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Linda Toolsema & Maarten Allers, 2014. "Welfare Financing: Grant Allocation and Efficiency," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 147-166, June.
    2. repec:dgr:rugsom:12004-eef is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Garth Heutel, 2014. "Crowding Out and Crowding In of Private Donations and Government Grants," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(2), pages 143-175, March.
    4. Levaggi, Rosella, 2010. "From local to global public goods: How should externalities be represented?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1040-1042, September.
    5. Toolsema-Veldman, Linda & Allers, M.A., 2012. "Welfare financing," Research Report 12004-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    6. Anton Bondarev & Beat Hintermann & Frank C. Krysiak & Ralph Winkler, 2017. "The Intricacy of Adapting to Climate Change: Flood Protection as a Local Public Goods Game," CESifo Working Paper Series 6382, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Huber, Bernd & Runkel, Marco, 2008. "Interregional redistribution and budget institutions under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2350-2361, December.
    8. Billy Jack, 2003. "Comparing the distortionary effects of alternative in-kind intergovernmental transfers," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-17, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
    9. Riemer P. Faber & Pierre Koning, 2017. "Why not fully spend a conditional block grant?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(1), pages 60-95, February.
    10. Geys, Benny & Konrad, Kai A., . "Federalism and optimal allocation across levels of governance," Chapters in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    11. Sebastian G. Kessing & Benny Schneider, 2014. "Regional Investment and Individual Redistribution in a Federation," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 168-14, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    12. Herold, Katharina, 2009. "Intergovernmental grants and financial autonomy under asymmetric information," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 09-2, University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
    13. Sören Blomquist & Luca Micheletto, 2009. "Nonlinear Income Taxation And Matching Grants In A Federation With Decentralized In-Kind Transfers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 543-575, May.
    14. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:49-66 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    asymmetric information; categorical block grants; closed-ended matching grants;

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