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Should a Non-rival Public Good Always be Provided Centrally?

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  • Nicolas GRAVEL
  • Michel POITEVIN

Abstract

This paper discusses the problem of optimal design of a jurisdiction structure from the view point of a utilitarian social planner when individuals with identical utility functions for a non-rival public good and private consumption have private information about their contributive capacities. It shows that the superiority of a centralized provision of a non-rival public good over a federal one does not always hold. Specifically, when differences in individuals' contributive capacities are large, it is better to provide the public good in several distinct jurisdictions rather than to pool these jurisdictions into a single one. In the specific situation where individuals have logarithmic utilities, the paper provides a complete characterization of the optimal jurisdiction structure in the two-type case.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas GRAVEL & Michel POITEVIN, 2015. "Should a Non-rival Public Good Always be Provided Centrally?," Cahiers de recherche 12-2015, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:12-2015
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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 613-633, November.
    2. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Gary-Bobo, Robert J., 2007. "Sharing budgetary austerity under free mobility and asymmetric information: An optimal regulation approach to fiscal federalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1177-1196, June.
    3. 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.
    4. Gravel, Nicolas & Poitevin, Michel, 2006. "The progressivity of equalization payments in federations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1725-1743, September.
    5. Greenberg, Joseph, 1983. "Local public goods with mobility: Existence and optimality of a general equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 17-33, June.
    6. Thomas Aronsson & Sören Blomquist, 2008. "Redistribution and Provision of Public Goods in an Economic Federation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(1), pages 125-143, February.
    7. Flatters, Frank & Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1974. "Public goods, efficiency, and regional fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 99-112, May.
    8. Maniquet, François & Sprumont, Yves, 2010. "Sharing the cost of a public good: An incentive-constrained axiomatic approach," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 275-302, January.
    9. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    federalism; jurisdictions; asymmetric information; equalization; second best; public goods; city mergers;

    JEL classification:

    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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