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An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism


  • Roger H. Gordon


In a Federal system of government, each unit of government decides independently how much of each type of public good to provide, and what types of taxes, and which tax rates, to use in funding the public goods. In this paper we explore what types of problems can arise from this decentralized form of decision-making. In particular, we describe systematically the types of externalities that one unit of government can create for nonresidents, through both its public goods decisions and its taxation decisions. The paper also explores briefly what the central government might do to lessen the costs of decentralized decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger H. Gordon, 1982. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," NBER Working Papers 1004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1004
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-227, May.
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    6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-1311, July.
    7. Rotemberg, Julio J, 1984. "A Monetary Equilibrium Model with Transactions Costs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 40-58, February.
    8. Swoboda, Alexander K, 1978. "Gold, Dollars, Euro-Dollars, and the World Money Stock under Fixed Exchange Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 625-642, September.
    9. Grossman, Sanford & Weiss, Laurence, 1983. "A Transactions-Based Model of the Monetary Transmission Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 871-880, December.
    10. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1976. "Expectations and Exchange Rate Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1161-1176, December.
    11. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-1286, September.
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