Theme 10 Fiscal Federalism Public Economics 1 Introduction

Theme 10  Fiscal Federalism Public Economics 1 Introduction

Theme 10 Fiscal Federalism Public Economics 1 Introduction This lesson will address questions related to different levels of government: How should various responsibilities be

allocated to different levels of government? Is decentralized government decision making desirable? Are locally raised taxes a good way to pay for services provided locally? 2 Background A federal system consists of different levels of government that provide public

goods and services, and have some scope for making decisions. Fiscal federalism explores roles of different levels of government, and how they relate to one another. 3 Background A number of activities are primarily run at the local (region, town, municipality etc.) level:

Regional education (primary, secondary schools) Public safety (City Police) Regional highways and roads Sport facilities Etc. 4 Background

The centralization ratio measures the proportion of total direct government expenditures made by the central government. Incorrectly measures power if state and local governments are mandated to spend money on certain programs. 5 Economic rationale for fiscal

decentralisation Sub-national government Intergovernmental fiscal relations or fiscal federalism Spatial externalities Public choice perspective on fiscal federalism. 6

Community Formation Think of communities as a club a voluntary association of people who band together to share some kind of benefit. 7 Community Formation Public park example Members of the club have identical tastes

Can costlessly exclude nonmembers Will share equally the use of park and costs of park within the club 8 Community Formation For a park of a given size, the larger the club, the smaller the costs per person. As more people join the club, congestion costs

rise. Community should expand membership until: Marginal decrease in membership fee equals the marginal increase in congestion costs (Theory of Clubs James Buchanan, 1965 9 Theory of Clubs optimal number of members of the community (given size of public good) Costs (C)

and Benefits (B) per person C B Nopt

membership 10 Community Formation For a community of a given size, how large should the park be? Larger park yields greater benefits, but at a diminishing rate. Community should expand park size until:

Each members marginal benefit just equals the per-member marginal cost. 11 Theory of Clubs optimal size of public good (given number of members of the community) Costs (C) and Benefits (B) per person

B (B C)max C Sopt size of public good 12

Community Formation Putting these two together: The optimal community is one in which the number of members and level of services simultaneously satisfy the condition that the marginal cost equal the corresponding marginal benefit. 13

The Tiebout Model Tiebout (1956) argued that the ability of individuals to move across jurisdictions produces a market-like solution to the local public goods problem. People distribute themselves across communities based on their demands for public services (and pay taxes for these services). Equilibrium is Pareto efficient. 14

The Tiebout model Just as the consumer may be visualised as walking to a private market place to buy his goods, we place him in the position of walking to a community where the prices (taxes) of community services are set. Both trips take the consumer to market. There is no way in which the consumer can avoid revealing his preferences in a spatial economy. Charles Tiebout, "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures" (1956) 15

The Tiebout Model: Some Key Assumptions Government activities generate no externalities Individuals are completely mobile, and have perfect information with respect to each communitys public services and taxes There are enough communities so that each individual can find one with services meeting her demands Constant returns to scale technology Public services financed by a proportional property tax

Communities can enact exclusionary zoning laws statutes that prohibit certain uses of land. 16 Oates decentralization theorem The provision of public services should be located at the lowest level of government encompassing, in a spatial sense, the relevant benefits and costs

(Oates, 1999). 17 18 Optimal Federalism What is the optimal allocation of economic responsibilities among levels of government in a federal system?

Will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a decentralized system. 19 Optimal Federalism Disadvantages of a Decentralized System Several reasons why decentralization may not lead to an efficient allocation of resources Externalities communities may produce

negative or positive externalities for other communities. 20 Optimal Federalism Disadvantages of a Decentralized System Scale economies increasing returns to scale would suggest larger community could

provide good at lower average cost. Communities could jointly run some activities. 21 Optimal Federalism Disadvantages of a Decentralized System Inefficient tax systems capital may be very immobile across countries but very

mobile across jurisdictions within a country. Leads to tax rates that are too low. 22 Optimal Federalism Disadvantages of a Decentralized System Scale economies in tax collection it is likely that larger agencies are more efficient

at collecting taxes. 23 Optimal Federalism Disadvantages of a Decentralized System Equity Issues Migration of the poor puts extra demands on a communitys tax base, and makes it difficult to redistribute.

24 Optimal Federalism Advantages of a Decentralized System Tailoring Outputs to Local Tastes under a decentralized system, individuals with similar tastes for public goods group together. Related to this is the notion that a local

governments proximity to the people makes it more responsive to citizens preferences. 25 Optimal Federalism: Tax competition vs tax harmonisation Tax competition occurs when sub-national governments adjust (lower) their tax rates to attract mobile factors of production (notably capital) from other jurisdictions.

Tax harmonisation occurs when sub-national governments coordinate their tax policies (for instance, by limiting the degree of variation in tax rates levied, or by defining the tax bases in a uniform way). Optimal Federalism Advantages of a Decentralized System Fostering Intergovernmental Competition If citizens can choose among communities, then substantial mismanagement of

government resources may cause outmigration. This threat may create incentive for government managers to produce more efficiently. 27 Optimal Federalism Advantages of a Decentralized System Experimentation and Innovation For many policies, not known what the right

answer is (if there is one). Diverse governments increases the likelihood that new solutions to problems will be sought. 28 Intergovernmental Grants State grants are important source of revenue to regions and localities.

Essentially two types of grants: conditional and unconditional. 29 Intergovernmental Grants Conditional grants Also known as categorical grants. Donor specifies the purposes for which the recipient may use the money.

Usually earmarked Several types of conditional grants: Matching grant Matching closed-ended grant Nonmatching grant 30 Intergovernmental Grants Conditional grants

Matching grant For every amount given by the donor to support a particular activity, a certain sum must be expended by the recipient. Changes relative price of the public good, G. Figure 1 illustrates the potential effects. 31

Figure 1 32 Intergovernmental Grants Conditional grants Matching closed ended grant For every dollar given by the donor to support a particular activity, a certain sum must be expended by the recipient. Donor specifies ceiling, that is, a

maximum contribution. Changes relative price of the public good, G, on part of the budget constraint. Budget constraint is non-linear. Figure 2 illustrates the potential effects. 33 Figure 2

34 Intergovernmental Grants Conditional grants Nonmatching grant Donor gives fixed sum of money with the stipulation that it is spent on public good. Does not change the relative price of the public good, G. Budget constraint is nonlinear.

Figure 3 illustrates the potential effects. 35 Figure 3 36 Intergovernmental Grants Unconditional grants

Sometimes referred to as revenue sharing. Money is unrestricted. Similar to budget constraint in Figure 3, except that the budget line is now JM rather than AHM. 37 Borrowing powers and debt management at sub-national

level Financial contagion Moral hazard. 38

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