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Expenditure Competition

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  • Roger H. Gordon
  • John D. Wilson

Abstract

Given the temptation on government officials to use some of their budget for 'perks,' residents face the problem of inducing officials to reduce such 'waste.' The threat to vote out of office officials who perform poorly is one possible response. In this paper, we explore the effect that competition for residents induced by fiscal decentralization has on 'waste' in government. We find not only that such competition reduces waste and raises the utility of residents, but also that it should increase the desired level of public expenditures, and to a point above the level that jurisdictions would choose if they could coordinate. These results are in sharp contrast to the presumed effects from such 'tax competition,' and suggest an additional advantage of fiscal decentralization.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger H. Gordon & John D. Wilson, 2001. "Expenditure Competition," NBER Working Papers 8189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8189
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
    2. Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
    3. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
    4. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
    5. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
    6. Glaeser, Edward L, 1996. "The Incentive Effects of Property Taxes on Local Governments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 93-111, October.
    7. John Anderson & Hendrik van den Berg, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Government Size: An International Test for Leviathan Accounting for Unmeasured Economic Activity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(2), pages 171-186, May.
    8. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
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