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Toward an Efficiency Rationale for the Public Provision of Private Goods

  • Peter Norman

    (UNC Chapel Hill)

  • Hanming Fang


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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed010:1185
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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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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  8. Schmitz, Patrick W., 1997. "Monopolistic Provision of Excludable Public Goods under Private Information," MPRA Paper 6549, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Blomquist, Sören & Christiansen, Vidar, 1998. "The Political Economy of Publicly Provided Private Goods," Working Paper Series 1998:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Gilat Levy, 2005. "The Politics of Public Provision of Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1507-1534, November.
  12. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-83, June.
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  14. Hanming Fang & Peter Norman, 2006. "To bundle or not to bundle," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(4), pages 946-963, December.
  15. 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.
  16. Peter Norman, 2004. "Efficient Mechanisms for Public Goods with Use Exclusions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1163-1188.
  17. Rainald Borck & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Preferences for Childcare Policies: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 827, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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  19. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1991. "Public Goods, Self-Selection and Optimal Income Taxation," Working Papers 828, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  20. Bruce, Neil & Waldman, Michael, 1991. "Transfers in Kind: Why They Can Be Efficient and Nonpaternalistic," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1345-51, December.
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  22. S�ren Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen & Luca Micheletto, 2010. "Public Provision of Private Goods and Nondistortionary Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 1-27, May.
  23. Hellwig, Martin F., 2007. "The provision and pricing of excludable public goods: Ramsey-Boiteux pricing versus bundling," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 511-540, April.
  24. Jukka Pirttilä & Sanna Tenhunen, 2005. "Pawns and Queens Revisited: Public Provision of Private Goods when Individuals make Mistakes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1466, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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).
  28. 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.
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  39. 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.
  40. Stokey, Nancy L, 1979. "Intertemporal Price Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 355-71, August.
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