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Evaluating the Efficiency and Equity of Federal Fiscal Equalization

  • David Albouy

In theory, federal transfers that make household location decisions efficient should ignore local cost differences, subsidize positive externalities, and offset differences in federal-tax payments and local taxes levied on non-residents, but not local tax revenues from residents. Transfers that redistribute resources equitably across regions will likely target areas with individuals of low earnings potential or low real incomes. Applying these criteria empirically, Canadian equalization policy appears neither efficient nor equitable, but exacerbates pre-existing inefficiencies and underfunds minorities. Locational inefficiencies cost Canada 0.41 percent of income annually and cause over-funded provinces to have populations 31 percent beyond their efficient long-run levels. The hard copy version of this paper was accidentally printed without tables. Print subscribers may access the full file by downloading here. Individual purchasers of paper copies can email subs@nber.org for the full file. Our apologies for the error.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16144.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Publication status: published as Albouy, David, 2012. "Evaluating the efficiency and equity of federal fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 824-839.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16144
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