Democratic Provision of Divisible Public Goods
32 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2010
Date Written: February 2010
In this paper we examine the potential of democratic constitutions for the provision of divisible public goods in a large economy. Our main insights are as follows: When aggregate shocks are absent, the combination of the following rules yields first-best allocations: a supermajority rule, equal taxation, exemption of the agenda setter from taxation, and a ban on subsidies. In the presence of aggregate shocks to benefits or to costs of public-good provision, tax-sensitive majority rules, where the size of the required majority depends on the aggregate tax revenues, yield first-best allocations if a monotonicity condition is met. Finally, we explore the potential of first-best constitutions to induce voluntary participation by compensating agents belonging to the minority.
Keywords: democratic constitutions, tax-sensitive majority rules, constitutional rules, provision of public goods
JEL Classification: D62, D72, H40
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