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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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  1. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  2. BORDIGNON, Massimo & MINELLI, Enrico, . "Rules transparency and political accountability," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1522, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
  4. Lockwood, B., 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralization," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 513, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bordignon, Massimo & Manasse, Paolo & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Optimal Regional Redistribution Under Asymmetric Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 1437, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Faini,Riccardo C. & de Melo,Jaime & Zimmermann,Klaus (ed.), 1999. "Migration," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662338, june. pag.
  11. Salmon, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralisation as an Incentive Scheme," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 24-43, Summer.
  12. 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.
  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. 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.
  15. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  16. Bucovetsky, S. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1998. "Tax Competition and Revelation of Preferences for Public Expenditure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 367-390, November.
  17. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-74, September.
  18. 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.
  19. Paolo Manasse & Christian Schultz, . "Regional Redistribution and Migration," Working Papers 146, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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