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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. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  2. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Sahn, David & Younger, Stephen D., 2001. "Robust Multidimensional Poverty Comparisons," Cahiers de recherche 0115, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  3. 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.
  4. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff & Maurice Marchand, 2003. "Equalization and the Decentralization of Revenue-Raising in a Federation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 201-228, 04.
  5. 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.
  6. Davidson, R. & Duclos, J.-Y., 1998. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 98a14, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  7. GRAVEL, Nicolas & POITEVIN, Michel, 2004. "The Progressivity of Equalization Payments in Federations," Cahiers de recherche 2004-12, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  8. Russell Davidson, 2006. "Stochastic Dominance," Departmental Working Papers 2006-19, McGill University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Nicolas Gravel & Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, 2010. "Is India better off today than 15 years ago? A robust multidimensional answer," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 173-195, June.
  11. Robin Boadway, 2003. "The Theory and Practice of Equalization," Working Papers 1016, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Bourguignon, F. & Chakravarty, S.R., 1998. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," DELTA Working Papers 98-12, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  13. Foster, James E, 1998. "Absolute versus Relative Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 335-41, May.
  14. 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.
  15. Marc Fleurbaey & Alain Trannoy, 2003. "The impossibility of a Paretian egalitarian," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 243-263, October.
  16. Atkinson, Anthony B & Bourguignon, Francois, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201, April.
  17. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1983. "Ranking Income Distributions," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(197), pages 3-17, February.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Kathleen M. Day, 1992. "Interprovincial Migration and Local Public Goods," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(1), pages 123-44, February.
  21. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-97, July.
  22. John A. Weymark, 2003. "The Normative Approach to the Measurement of Multidimensional Inequality," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0314, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Jan 2004.
  23. Valentino Dardanoni & Antonio Forcina, 1999. "Inference for Lorenz curve orderings," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 2(1), pages 49-75.
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