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Toward an Efficiency Rationale for the Public Provision of Private Goods

  • Peter Norman

    (UNC Chapel Hill)

  • Hanming Fang

    (Upenn)

This paper shows that public provision of private goods may be justified on pure efficiency grounds in an environment where individuals consume both public and private goods. The government's involvement in the provision of private goods provides it with information about individuals' private good purchases that facilitates more efficient revenue extraction for the provision of public goods. We show that public provision of the private good improves economic efficiency under a condition that is always fulfilled under stochastic independence and satisfied for an open set of joint distributions. Our model is an example where there is an efficiency loss from separating revenue and expenditure problems, and is therefore of more general interest for the study of optimal taxation.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2010 Meeting Papers with number 1185.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:1185
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Fax: 1-314-444-8731
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htmEmail:


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  1. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2008. "Optimal Provision of Multiple Excludable Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 13797, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Tilman Borgers & Peter Norman, 2005. "A Note on Budget Balance under Interim Participation Constraints: The Case of Independent Types," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000147, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen & Luca Micheletto, 2008. "Public Provision of Private Goods and Nondistortionary Marginal Tax Rates," CESifo Working Paper Series 2303, CESifo Group Munich.
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  7. Blomquist, Sören & Christiansen, Vidar, 1998. "The Political Economy of Publicly Provided Private Goods," Working Paper Series 1998:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Adams, William James & Yellen, Janet L, 1976. "Commodity Bundling and the Burden of Monopoly," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 475-98, August.
  9. Garratt, Rod & Marshall, John M, 1994. "Public Finance of Private Goods: The Case of College Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 566-82, June.
  10. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & SATO, Motohiro, 1997. "Subsidies versus public provision of private goods as instruments for redistibution," CORE Discussion Papers 1997071, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1997. "In-kind transfers, self-selection and optimal tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 97-114, January.
  12. Peter Norman, 2004. "Efficient Mechanisms for Public Goods with Use Exclusions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(4), pages 1163-1188, October.
  13. Miguel Gouveia, 1997. "Majority rule and the public provision of a private good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 221-244, December.
  14. Bergstrom, Ted & Blomquist, Soren, 1996. "The political economy of subsidized day care," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 443-457, November.
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  16. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1995. "On the Political Economy of Education Subsidies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 249-62, April.
  17. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1996. "Public Provision of Private Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 57-84, February.
  18. Riley, John & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1983. "Optimal Selling Strategies: When to Haggle, When to Hold Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 267-89, May.
  19. Stokey, Nancy L, 1979. "Intertemporal Price Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 355-71, August.
  20. Schmitz, Patrick W., 1997. "Monopolistic Provision of Excludable Public Goods under Private Information," MPRA Paper 6549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  21. ROBERTS, John, . "The incentives for correct revelation of preferences and the number of consumers," CORE Discussion Papers RP -272, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  22. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Cash versus Kind, Self-selection, and Efficient Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 691-700, September.
  23. Firouz Gahvari & Enlinson Mattos, 2007. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Public Provision of Private Goods, and Income Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 491-502, March.
  24. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John & Whinston, Michael D, 1989. "Multiproduct Monopoly, Commodity Bundling, and Correlation of Values," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 371-83, May.
  25. Blomquist, Suren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1995. " Public Provision of Private Goods as a Redistributive Device in an Optimum Income Tax Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 547-67, December.
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