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A Dynamic Tiebout Theory of Voluntary versus Involuntary Provision of Public Goods

  • Gerhard Glomm

    (Michigan State University)

  • Roger Lagunoff

    (Georgetown University)

This paper considers a dynamic model of Tiebout-like migration between communities that utilize distinct allocation procedures for public goods. At issue is whether voluntary or compulsory procedures are more likely to prevail over time. We model infinitely lived individuals who make repeated, sequential location decisions over one of two communities. Each community uses a distinct mechanism for allocating public goods. The first is one in which contributions are given voluntarily by the citizenry of the community. The second is a compulsory scheme by which individuals are taxed proportionately to wealth with the tax determined by a majority vote. Opportunities to accumulate wealth exist via accumulation of public capital. The Markov Perfect equilibria of the dynamic game are studied. Our main result shows that when accumulated wealth converges to a steady state, individuals' locational choices eventually ``select" the involuntary provision mechanism. This holds despite the fact that unanimous location in the voluntary provision community may in many cases remain as a Nash equilibrium of the static game each period. We also describe conditions under which voluntary provision survives. These conditions require that accumulation of capital fails to decrease wealth dispersion over time. The results are shown to be consistent with findings relating inequality to school choice.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/game/papers/9901/9901002.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Game Theory and Information with number 9901002.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 27 Jan 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpga:9901002
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat pdf file; prepared on IBM PC - PC- TEX ; to print on Acrobat PDF Writer; pages: 29 ; figures: included. This is the revised and final version forthcoming in Review of Economic Studies. We have benefitted from the helpful suggestions of Andrew Austin, Marcus Berliant, Yan Chen, Hyun Song Shin, an anonymous referee, and numerous seminar participants.
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-64, February.
  2. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2010. "A Theory of Dynamic Oligopoly, 1: Overview and Quantity Competition with Large Fixed Costs," Levine's Working Paper Archive 397, David K. Levine.
  3. Benabou, Roland, 1996. "Equity and Efficiency in Human Capital Investment: The Local Connection," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 237-64, April.
  4. Link, Charles R. & Mulligan, James G., 1991. "Classmates' effects on black student achievement in public school classrooms," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 297-310, December.
  5. Rubinstein Ariel & Wolinsky Asher, 1995. "Remarks on Infinitely Repeated Extensive-Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 110-115, April.
  6. Wooders, Myrna Holtz, 1989. "A Tiebout theorem," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 33-55, August.
  7. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  8. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1992. "Individuals and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 317-22, May.
  9. Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter & Sauvageau, Yvon, 1978. "Peer group effects and educational production functions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 97-106, August.
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