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Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information

  • Massimo Bordignon
  • Paolo Manasse
  • Guido Tabellini

This paper studies optimal redistribution among two different regions in a federal state. Regional governments supply local public goods financed with distorting local taxes. They have better information on their tax bases than the federal government. We model this both as an adverse selection problem on the size of local tax bases and/or as moral hazard problem on local tax enforcement. Moral hazard alone does not affect the first best redistribution rule, which is a lump sum transfer from the rich to the poor region. In all other cases the optimal transfer rule involves a lump sum tax on the rich regions and a premium for fiscal effort by the poor regions, with the transfer falling short of the first-best level. In the equilibrium with moral hazard and adverse selection, tax evasion occurs only in the poor region, even though the possibility of lax tax enforcement benefits the rich and harms the poor region because it reduces equilibrium redistribution.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 93.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:93
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  1. BUCOVETSKY, Sam & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Tax competition and revelation of preferences for public expenditure," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1352, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Bordignon, Massimo & Manasse, Paolo & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 1437, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-74, September.
  4. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  5. Paolo Manasse & Christian Schultz, . "Regional Redistribution and Migration," Working Papers 146, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Horst Raff & John Wilson, 1997. "Income Redistribution with Well-Informed Local Governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 407-427, November.
  7. SALMON, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralization as an incentive scheme," Institut des Mathématiques Economiques – Document de travail de l’I.M.E. (1974-1993) 98, Institut des Mathématiques Economiques. LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
  8. Massimo Bordignon & Enrico Minelli, . "Rules transparency and political accountability," Working Papers 147, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. 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.
  10. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
  11. Lockwood, B., 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralization," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 513, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  12. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 979-1009, October.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  14. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 1999. "Optimal secession rules," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-51, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  15. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, . "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," Working Papers 97045, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  16. 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.
  17. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1996. "Distributional Conflicts, Factor Mobility, and Political Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 99-104, May.
  18. Laura Bottazzi & Paolo Manasse, . "Bankers' versus Workers' Europe (I): Asymmetric Information in EMU," Working Papers 127, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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