Democratic Provision of Divisible Public Goods

32 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2010

See all articles by Hans Gersbach

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 2010

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gersbach, Hans, Democratic Provision of Divisible Public Goods (February 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1553649

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
+41 44 632 82 80 (Phone)
+41 44 632 18 30 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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