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The Optimal Composition of Government Expenditure

  • John Creedy
  • Solmaz Moslehi

This paper examines the optimal ratio of transfer payments to expenditure on public goods, for a given income tax rate. The transfer payment is then determined by the government’s budget constraint. The optimal ratio of transfers to public good expenditure per person is expressed as a function of the ratio of the median to the mean wage, and of the tax rate. Reductions in the skewness of the wage rate distribution are associated with reductions in transfer payments relative to public goods expenditure, at a decreasing rate. Furthermore, increases in the tax rate, from relatively low levels, are associated with increases in the relative importance of transfer payments. But beyond a certain level, further tax rate increases are associated with a lower ratio of transfers to public goods.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1008.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
Fax: +61 3 8344 6899
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  1. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  2. Been-Lon Chen, 2006. "Economic growth with an optimal public spending composition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(1), pages 123-136, January.
  3. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
  4. Rainald Borck, 2005. "Voting, Inequality, and Redistribution," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 503, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. John Creedy & Solmaz Moslehi, 2007. "Modelling the Composition of Government Expenditure in Democracies," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1007, The University of Melbourne.
  6. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  7. Romano Piras, 2001. "Government Spending Composition in an Endogenous Growth Model with Congestion," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 121-136, 02.
  8. Lee, Jisoon, 1992. "Optimal size and composition of government spending," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 423-439, December.
  9. Tridimas, George & Winer, Stanley L., 2005. "The political economy of government size," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 643-666, September.
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