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Public Goods and the Distribution of Income

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

This article addresses conceptual issues concerning the distributive incidence of public goods. Solutions depend on the specific purposes for asking the question of distributive incidence notably, assessing the extent to which various public goods should be provided, determining how the provision of public goods affects the desirability of income redistribution, and providing a meaningful description of the distribution of well-being. In the course of the analysis, a simple and intuitive version of the benefit principle of taxation (qualitatively different from those commonly advanced in pertinent literatures) is presented, and some of the problems confronting empirical attempts to measure the distributive incidence of public goods are resolved.

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  • Louis Kaplow, 2003. "Public Goods and the Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 9842, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9842
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    Cited by:

    1. Louis Kaplow, 2008. "Optimal Policy with Heterogeneous Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14170, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Wolfgang Buchholz & Wolfgang Peters, 2007. "Justifying the Lindahl solution as an outcome of fair cooperation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 157-169, October.
    3. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevence of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion of Government Policy," NBER Working Papers 10490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. World Bank, 2008. "Nicaragua - Poverty Assessment : Volume 3. Background Paper," World Bank Other Operational Studies 8101, The World Bank.
    5. Felix Bierbrauer, 2008. "Optimal Income Taxation, Public Goods Provision and Robust Mechanism Design," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_31, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    6. Felix Bierbrauer, 2009. "Optimal Income Taxation and Public Goods Provision in a Large Economy with Aggregate Uncertainty," CESifo Working Paper Series 2701, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Anni Huhtala & Eija Pouta, 2009. "Benefit Incidence of Public Recreation Areas—Have the Winners Taken Almost All?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(1), pages 63-79, May.
    8. Ramón López & Amparo Palacios, 2014. "Why has Europe Become Environmentally Cleaner? Decomposing the Roles of Fiscal, Trade and Environmental Policies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(1), pages 91-108, May.
    9. López, Ramón & Palacios, Amparo, 2011. "Why Europe has become environmentally cleaner: Decomposing the roles of fiscal, trade and environmental policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 8551, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Felix Bierbrauer, 2008. "A unified approach to the revelation of public goods preferences and to optimal income taxation," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_39, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    11. Louis Kaplow, 2004. "On the (Ir)Relevance of Distribution and Labor Supply Distortion to Government Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 159-175, Fall.
    12. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Discounting Dollars, Discounting Lives: Intergenerational Distributive Justice and Efficiency," NBER Working Papers 12239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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