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Fiscal Capacity, Tax Effort, and Optimal Equalization Grants

Bev Dahlby () and Leonard Wilson ()

Canadian Journal of Economics, 1994, vol. 27, issue 3, 657-72

Abstract: In this paper, the authors address the question of how the tax burden in a federation should be distributed across the different jurisdictions so that the social cost of providing government services is minimized. Using optimal tax theory, they derive formulas for the optimal equalization grants that equalize the social marginal cost of raising revenue across all provinces. The authors show how the optimal equalization grants are related to a measure of tax effort based on the marginal cost of public funds and a measure of fiscal capacity that takes into account the elasticity of the tax base and its substitutability with other tax bases.

Date: 1994
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