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Congestion, Technical Returns, and the Minimum Efficient Scales of Local Public Expenditures: An Empirical Analysis for Japanese Cities

  • Masayoshi Hayashi

    (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)

On the basis of the standard model of local public production, we delineate the factors that account for the "U-shaped" per capita local public expenditures and relate them to construct an efficiency indicator for local populations. We articulate that population-induced changes in the per capita cost are related to the relative magnitude between the (i) technical elasticity of scale, which characterizes technology for the direct outputs produced by a government, and (ii) congestion elasticity, which characterizes consumption technology for the public services consumed by citizens. Those two elasticities allow us to construct an indicator that quantifies the distance of a local population from its minimum efficient scale (MES) for local public expenditures. We then estimate the urban public production structure in Japan and apply the analysis to the Japanese case. With the estimates obtained, we rank the Japanese cities according to the calculated values of the indicator.

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File URL: http://www.cirje.e.u-tokyo.ac.jp/research/dp/2012/2012cf852.pdf
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Paper provided by CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo in its series CIRJE F-Series with number CIRJE-F-852.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2012cf852
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  1. Reiter, Michael & Weichenrieder, Alfons J., 1999. "Public Goods, Club Goods, and the Measurement of Crowding," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 69-79, July.
  2. Duncombe, William & Yinger, John, 1993. "An analysis of returns to scale in public production, with an application to fire protection," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 49-72, August.
  3. Stevens, Barbara J, 1978. "Scale, Market Structure, and the Cost of Refuse Collection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(3), pages 438-48, August.
  4. Brueckner, Jan K., 1981. "Congested public goods: The case of fire protection," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 45-58, February.
  5. Hayes, Kathy J & Slottje, Daniel J, 1987. "Measures of Publicness Based on Demographic Scaling," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 713-18, November.
  6. Edwards, John H. Y., 1990. "Congestion function specification and the "publicness" of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 80-96, January.
  7. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
  8. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119, March.
  9. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-96, June.
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