Samaritan's Dilemmas, Wealth Redistribution, and Polycentricity

23 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2016 Last revised: 21 Sep 2016

See all articles by Meg Tuszynski

Meg Tuszynski

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 19, 2016

Abstract

It is nearly universally presumed that redistribution can be carried out effectively only at the national or even global level, because local redistribution will be negated through personal mobility: recipients will move to high-paying jurisdictions while taxpayers will move away from those jurisdictions. To avoid this situation requires redistribution to be concentrated at national and not at local levels. In contrast to this standard line of argument, we explain how it is that redistribution is more effectively pursued at local than at national levels. To explain this reversal from standard analytical implications, we integrate three concepts that are not present in the standard analysis. These concepts are the Samaritan’s dilemma, co-production, and polycentricity. It is interaction among these three concepts that reverses the implications of the standard analysis of redistribution.

Keywords: Samaritan’s dilemma; co-production; polycentricity; moral hazard; welfare reform

JEL Classification: D64, H 23, H53, I38

Suggested Citation

Tuszynski, Meg and Wagner, Richard E., Samaritan's Dilemmas, Wealth Redistribution, and Polycentricity (February 19, 2016). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 16-37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2734725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2734725

Meg Tuszynski

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom ( email )

United States

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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