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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