Competitive Federalism: A Political-Economy General Equilibrium Approach
This paper develops a modelling framework within which questions of fiscal federalism can be handled. Regional computable general equilibrium (CGE) models form one good approach for examining such questions. However, conventional regional CGE models contain little, if any, theory relating to optimal economic decision-making by governments. In this paper we overcome this limitation by analysing a simple two-region GE model to which maximising behaviour by regional governments is added. We call this a regional political-economy general equilibrium (PEGE) model. We begin by considering a model with only regional governments. We then introduce a rudimentary federal government and consider two cases; in the first the federal government carries out a lump-sum transfer of resources from one regional government to another and in the second it imposes lump-sum income taxes on households and uses this revenue to make transfers to regional governments. We compare the implications of the PEGE model with and without the federal government transfers and conclude that optimising regional governments change their own tax rates to offset the effects on their citizens of the federal government action.
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