Redistribution as a Local Public Good: An Empirical Test for Flemish Municipalities

30 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2002

See all articles by John Ashworth

John Ashworth

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance

Bruno Heyndels

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Carine Smolders

Hogeschool Gent

Abstract

Redistribution is typically viewed as a task of the central government. However, in most federal countries local governments do have some discretion in redistribution policy. The main theoretical argument for this is that redistribution may be a local public good (Pauly 1973). Using data on Flemish municipalities, we present a first empirical test of Pauly's assumption. We find that the willingness to redistribute is negatively affected by the geographical dimension of the responsible government. We extend the notion of distance, considering also sociological, cultural, income and political distances between donors and recipients. We find that, with the exception of income, these are relevant determinants of welfare policy, though they do not always have the predicted effect.

Suggested Citation

Ashworth, John and Heyndels, Bruno and Smolders, Carine, Redistribution as a Local Public Good: An Empirical Test for Flemish Municipalities. Kyklos, Vol. 55, pp. 27-56, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=309277

John Ashworth (Contact Author)

Durham University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

23-6 Old Elvet
Durham DH1 3HY
United Kingdom

Bruno Heyndels

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
http://www.vub.ac.be/
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

Carine Smolders

Hogeschool Gent ( email )

Voskenslaan 270
B-9000 Gent
Belgium

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