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

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  • Nicolas Gravel

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

  • 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 = University of Québec in 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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    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.
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    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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    asymmetric information; jurisdictions; federalism; equalization; city mergers;
    All these keywords.

    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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