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Centralization Trade-off with Non-Uniform Taxes

When local public goods are provided by a centralized authority, spillovers may be coordinated, but heterogeneity in preferences may be suppressed. Besley and Coate (2003) have already solved this classic trade-off for a uniform tax regime. Here, we extend their approach by allowing for a non-uniform tax regime. We find that centralization with our tax system necessarily increases welfare in comparison to uniform-tax centralization. Importantly, with non-cooperative legislators coming from homogenous districts, our centralization dominates decentralization for any degree of spillovers. In other cases, it at least improves odds of centralization, if measured by utilitarian yardstick.

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Paper provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its series Working Papers IES with number 81.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision: 2005
Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp081
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  1. Redoano, Michela & Scharf, Kimberly A., 2004. "The political economy of policy centralization: direct versus representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 799-817, March.
  2. Frey, Bruno S. & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "FOCJ: Competitive governments for Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 315-327, September.
  3. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  4. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2000. "Federalism, distributive politics and representative democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 105-122, 07.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  6. Massimo Bordignon & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2003. "Fiscal Federalism and Endogenous Lobbies' Formation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1017, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521738057 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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