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Are Equalization Payments Making Canadians Better Off? A Two-Dimensional Dominance Answer

  • Benoit Tarroux

    ()

    (GREQAM-IDEP and Université de la Méditerranée)

This paper provides a normative appraisal of the Canadian equalization transfers system. For that sake, the two-dimensional dominance criteria introduced by Atkinson and Bourguignon(RES, 1982) are used to compare the distributions of private and public good before and after equalization payments. As the distribution before equalization is not observable, one simulates it on the basis of various scenarios which specify both its financing by the federal government and its utilization by provincial governments. The results show that Canadian equalization payments never improve social welfare for all utilitarian social planners who believe that household convert public and private goods into well-being by a utility function belonging to the classes that corresponds to the Atkinson and Bourguignon criteria. A further parametric restriction on the class of utility functions however enables to get more precise results.

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Paper provided by Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France in its series IDEP Working Papers with number 0608.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 15 Nov 2006
Date of revision: 15 Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:0608
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  1. GRAVEL, Nicolas & POITEVIN, Michel, 2004. "The Progressivity of Equalization Payments in Federations," Cahiers de recherche 2004-12, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Nicolas Gravel & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2007. "Is India Better off Today than 15 Years ago? A Robust Multidimensional Answer," IDEP Working Papers 0704, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised 18 May 2007.
  3. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  4. William G. Watson, 1986. "An Estimate of the Welfare Gain from Fiscal Equalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(2), pages 298-308, May.
  5. Nicolas Gravel & Patrick Moyes, 2006. "Ethically Robust Comparisons of Distributions of Two Individual Attributes," IDEP Working Papers 0605, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France, revised Aug 2006.
  6. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
  7. Kaur, Amarjot & Prakasa Rao, B.L.S. & Singh, Harshinder, 1994. "Testing for Second-Order Stochastic Dominance of Two Distributions," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(05), pages 849-866, December.
  8. Valentino Dardanoni & Antonio Forcina, 1999. "Inference for Lorenz curve orderings," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(1), pages 49-75.
  9. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
  10. A. B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201.
  11. 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 613-33, November.
  12. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Robin Boadway, 2003. "The Theory and Practice of Equalization," Working Papers 1016, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  14. A. B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201.
  15. BOADWAY, Robin & CUFF, Katherine & MARCHAND, Maurice, . "Equalization and the decentralization of revenue-raising in a federation," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1610, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  16. Jean-Yves Duclos & David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2006. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 943-968, October.
  17. Foster, James E, 1998. "Absolute versus Relative Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 335-41, May.
  18. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  19. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  20. M. Fleurbaey & A. Trannoy, 2000. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Egalitarian," THEMA Working Papers 2000-26, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  21. Kathleen M. Day & Stanley L. Winer, 2001. "Policy-induced Migration in Canada: An Empirical Study," Carleton Economic Papers 01-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
  22. Kathleen M. Day, 1992. "Interprovincial Migration and Local Public Goods," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 123-44, February.
  23. Russell Davidson, 2006. "Stochastic Dominance," Departmental Working Papers 2006-19, McGill University, Department of Economics.
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