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A Theory of Distributional Conflict, Voluntarism and Segregation

  • Horstmann, Ignatius J
  • Scharf, Kimberley

Along with the rise in income inequality in the US, there is evidence of a simultaneous move toward fiscal devolution and increased government reliance on private provision of public goods. This Paper argues that these phenomena are related. We describe a model of jurisdiction and policy formation in which the structure of government provision is endogenous and public good provision levels are determined by a political process that can exploit private motives for voluntary giving. The model predicts that an increase in income inequality leads to decentralization, with local jurisdictions becoming more income-homogeneous than the population as a whole. This reduction in local income heterogeneity, combined with a reduced tax base, results in increased reliance by government on private provision.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3625.

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Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3625
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  1. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:1:p:65-96 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Epple, Dennis & Zelenitz, Allan & Visscher, Michael, 1978. "A Search for Testable Implications of the Tiebout Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 405-25, June.
  4. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1993. "Keeping People Out: Income Distribution, Zoning and the Quality of Public Education," NBER Working Papers 4333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1986. "On the Voluntary and Involuntary Provision of Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 789-93, September.
  6. Epple, Dennis & Filimon, Radu & Romer, Thomas, 1984. "Equilibrium among local jurisdictions: toward an integrated treatment of voting and residential choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 281-308, August.
  7. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth: Macroeconomic Implications of Community Structure and School Finance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 584-609, June.
  8. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1989. "A re-examination of the use of ability to pay taxes by local governments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 319-342, April.
  9. Scharf, Kimberley Ann, 2000. "Why are tax expenditures for giving embodied in fiscal constitutions?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 365-387, March.
  10. Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
  11. Brueckner, Jan K., 1982. "A test for allocative efficiency in the local public sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 311-331, December.
  12. Bucovetsky, Sam, 1981. "Optimal jurisdictional fragmentation and mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 171-191, October.
  13. Glomm, Gerhard & Lagunoff, Roger, 1998. "A Tiebout theory of public vs private provision of collective goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 91-112, April.
  14. Epple, Dennis & Sieg, Holger, 1997. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Working Papers 97-05, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  15. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:85-114 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  17. Warr, Peter G., 1982. "Pareto optimal redistribution and private charity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 131-138, October.
  18. Hamilton, Bruce W, 1976. "The Effects of Property Taxes and Local Public Spending on Property Values: A Theoretical Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 647-50, June.
  19. Brueckner, Jan K., 1979. "Property values, local public expenditure and economic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 223-245, March.
  20. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1996. "Distributional Conflicts, Factor Mobility, and Political Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 99-104, May.
  21. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  22. Cowell, Frank A., 1991. "Grouping bounds for inequality measures under alternative informational assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1-2), pages 1-14.
  23. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1995. "Local income taxation: An externality, Pigouvian solution, and public policies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 279-296, June.
  24. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1057-90 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Hoyt, William H. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 1997. "Household Location and Tiebout: Do Families Sort According to Preferences for Locational Amenities?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 159-178, September.
  26. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1027-56 is not listed on IDEAS
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