OPTIMAL DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS IN A FEDERATION: A SIMPLE, UNIFIED FRAMEWORK
Sanjit Dhami () and
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Ali al-Nowaihi ()
Bulletin of Economic Research, 2007, vol. 59, issue 3, 197-229
In a federation with n≥ 2 regions the relative optimality of five regimes – autarky, centralization, unregulated devolution, regulated devolution and direct democracy – is examined. Public policy consists of redistribution and regional public good provision. Regional incomes are uncertain and correlated. Estimates of the usefulness of regional public goods are uncertain and the federal government's estimates are noisier relative to those of regional governments. The optimality of each regime is influenced by four margins – regional insurance, coarseness of federal information, internalization of spillovers and raiding the commons. Regulated devolution is the only regime that is capable of producing the constrained first best level of public goods. Federal insurance under direct democracy can be inadequate relative to that under a utilitarian federal government. An increase in the number of regions allows better risk pooling but also greater opportunities for raiding the commons.
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Working Paper: Optimal Distribution Of Powers In A Federation: A Simple, Unified Framework (2005)
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