An Efficiency Rationale for Expenditure Equalization

32 Pages Posted: 25 May 2013

See all articles by Jeffrey D. Petchey

Jeffrey D. Petchey

Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics

James Petchey

Curtin University

Date Written: May 2012

Abstract

This paper provides an efficiency rationale for expenditure equalization in federations. It does so by developing a fiscal federalism model with two citizen types; immobile non-workers and mobile workers. Three decision-makers, a federal transfer authority and two states, play a game as Nash competitors. In any Nash Equilibrium the federal authority chooses an efficient transfer that 'equalizes' for inter-state differences in state benefit and redistributive taxes as well as differences in per capita revenues (economic rents). Since state taxes are equal to per capita state expenditures on services this provides an efficiency rationale for expenditure equalization. Using examples it is shown that Australian equalization gets expenditure equalization in the 'right' direction from an efficiency perspective; from low to high cost states. This is not to say, however, that the magnitude of inter-state transfers induced by expenditure equalization in Australia is efficient.

Keywords: federation, inter-state transfers, fiscal equalization, migration, efficiency

JEL Classification: H7, H70, H73, H77

Suggested Citation

Petchey, Jeffrey D. and Petchey, James, An Efficiency Rationale for Expenditure Equalization (May 2012). CRAE Research Paper No. 02032013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2269519

Jeffrey D. Petchey (Contact Author)

Curtin University - Centre for Research in Applied Economics ( email )

GPO Box U1987
Perth, Western Australia 6845
Australia

James Petchey

Curtin University ( email )

Kent Street
Bentley
Perth, WA WA 6102
Australia

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