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Comparing the distortionary effects of alternative in-kind intergovernmental transfers

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Abstract

This paper compares the distortions associated with alternative inter-governmental allocation rules when a central authority provides inputs for the provision of social services by local governments, and when local governments differ in their needs. Under a quantity-based mechanism, the input choices of high-need localities will tend to be distorted downwards. In order to convince the center of their higher needs, these communities signal their status by spending too little. However, under an expenditure-based mechanism the direction of distortion of the input choices of high-need localities depends on the price elasticity of demand for the local input. When demand is inelastic (elastic), in order to signal their high needs, high-need localities spend too much (little) on local inputs.

Suggested Citation

  • Billy Jack, 2003. "Comparing the distortionary effects of alternative in-kind intergovernmental transfers," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-17, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~03-03-17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bernd Huber & Marco Runkel, 2006. "Optimal Design of Intergovernmental Grants Under Asymmetric Information," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(1), pages 25-41, January.
    2. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1999. "Relative Capture of Local and Central Governments: An Essay in the Political Economy of Decentralization," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233624, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
    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. Antoine Faure-Grimaud & Jean-Jacques Laffont & David Martimort, 2000. "A Theory of Supervision with Endogenous Transaction Costs," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 1(2), pages 231-263, November.
    5. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2001. "Government Versus Private Ownership of Public Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1343-1372.
    6. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Martimort, David, 1998. "Transaction costs, institutional design and the separation of powers," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 673-684, May.
    7. 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.
    8. William Jack, 2004. "The Organization of Public Service Provision," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(3), pages 409-425, August.
    9. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inter-governmental transfers; matching grants;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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