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Envy-free Pricing for Impure Public Good

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  • Obara, Takuya
  • Tsugawa, Shuichi
  • Managi, Shunsuke

Abstract

In this paper, we study optimal public good provision with congestion and user fees to exclude some agents under lump-sum tax/transfer, constrained by the condition of reduction of envy. We adopt the λ envy-free constraint proposed by Diamantaras and Thomson (1990), and employ the exclusion technique used in Hellwig (2005), i.e., the policymaker decides the level of provision and user fee paid by people accessing a public good, as well as a uniform level of tax/transfer. We characterize the optimal public sector pricing rule that depends on utilitarian distributive concerns and envy reduction concerns, which are in conflict with each other. We show that if the social welfare function is strictly increasing and strictly concave and the government is not concerned with reducing envy, the user fee is greater than the marginal congestion cost. Additionally, we show that if the government reflects the notion of equality of opportunity under the reduction of envy, the user fee is lower than the marginal congestion cost. These results imply that the two fairness concerns are countervailing with regard to the surcharge fee.

Suggested Citation

  • Obara, Takuya & Tsugawa, Shuichi & Managi, Shunsuke, 2019. "Envy-free Pricing for Impure Public Good," CCES Discussion Paper Series 69, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:hit:ccesdp:69
    Note: This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Specially Promoted Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science [grant number 26000001] and by the 4th Environmental Economics Research Fund of the Japanese Ministry of Environment
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    Keywords

    Public sector pricing; λ envy-free; public good; excludability; congestion;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H44 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets

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