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Should a Non-Rival Public Good Always Be Provided Centrally?

Author

Listed:
  • Nicolas Gravel

    () (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

  • Michel Poitevin

    () (CIREQ - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIRANO - Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en analyse des organisations - UQAM - Université du Québec à Montréal)

Abstract

This paper discusses the problem of optimal design of a jurisdiction structure from the view point of a welfarist social planner when households with identical utility functions for non-rival public good and private consumption have private information about their contributive capacities. It shows that the superiority of a centralized provision of a non-rival public good over a federal one does not always hold. Specifically, when differences in households contributive capacities are large, it is better to provide the public good in several distinct jurisdictions rather than to pool these jurisdictions into a single one. In the specific case where households have logarithmic utilities, the paper provides a complete characterization of the optimal jurisdiction structure in the two-type case. "C'est pour unir les avantages divers qui résultent de la grandeur et de la petitesse des nations que le fédératif a été créé." (Alexis de Toqueville)

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Gravel & Michel Poitevin, 2014. "Should a Non-Rival Public Good Always Be Provided Centrally?," Working Papers halshs-01063191, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-01063191
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01063191
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robin W. Boadway & Frank R. Flatters, 1982. "Efficiency and Equalization Payments in a Federal System of Government: A Synthesis and Extension of Recent Results," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(4), pages 613-633, November.
    2. Marie-Laure Breuillé & Robert J. Gary-Bobo, 2005. "Sharing Budgetary Austerity under Free Mobility and Asymmetric Information: An Optimal Regulation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," CESifo Working Paper Series 1559, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Cornes, Richard C. & Silva, Emilson C. D., 2000. "Local Public Goods, Risk Sharing, and Private Information in Federal Systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 39-60, January.
    4. Gravel, Nicolas & Poitevin, Michel, 2006. "The progressivity of equalization payments in federations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1725-1743, September.
    5. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Gary-Bobo, Robert J., 2007. "Sharing budgetary austerity under free mobility and asymmetric information: An optimal regulation approach to fiscal federalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1177-1196, June.
    6. Greenberg, Joseph, 1983. "Local public goods with mobility: Existence and optimality of a general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 17-33, June.
    7. Thomas Aronsson & Sören Blomquist, 2008. "Redistribution and Provision of Public Goods in an Economic Federation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(1), pages 125-143, February.
    8. Flatters, Frank & Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1974. "Public goods, efficiency, and regional fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 99-112, May.
    9. Maniquet, François & Sprumont, Yves, 2010. "Sharing the cost of a public good: An incentive-constrained axiomatic approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 275-302, January.
    10. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    11. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric information; jurisdictions; federalism; equalization; city mergers;

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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