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Is the public sector too large in a democracy?

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  • Clive Fraser

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Abstract

The public sector supplies a club good financed by either a head tax or proportional taxation on exogenous incomes in a democracy. For a class of utility functions and club quality functions, the optimal club quality is independent of the income distribution, and hence of the identity of the median voter. With ”uniform and universal” public provision , the median voter chooses the head tax or proportional tax rate. This can result in lower levels of club goods in either financing regime than would occur in the first best. However, provision in all the latter three regimes can be lower than would occur via market supply by a “not for profit” organisation.

Suggested Citation

  • Clive Fraser, 2003. "Is the public sector too large in a democracy?," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/12, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  • Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:03/12
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    File URL: http://www.le.ac.uk/economics/research/RePEc/lec/leecon/dp03-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Diewert, Erwin, 2007. "Index Numbers," Economics working papers diewert-07-01-03-08-17-23, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 31 Jan 2007.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2014. "Public Versus Private Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(2), pages 222-258, April.
    2. al-Nowaihi, Ali & Fraser, Clive D., 2007. "Is the public sector too large in an economy with club goods? A case when consumers differ in both tastes and incomes," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 1018-1031, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    club good; democracy; taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

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