Fiscal Federalism and Local Public Finance: A Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Framework
This paper attempts to make an argument for the feasibility and usefulness of a computable general equilibrium approach to studying fiscal federalism and local public finance. It begins by presenting a general model of fiscal federalism that has at its base a local public goods model with (1) multiple types of mobile agents who are endowed with preferences, private good endowments, and land endowments, (2) local governments that produce local public goods funded by a property tax, and (3) a land market that capitalizes local policies to equilibrate supply and demand. To this, a state (or national) government producing a state public good is added, and all levels of government abide by majority rule voting. A computable general equilibrium framework is derived from this theoretical model and calibrated to New Jersey micro tax data. It has been applied elsewhere to study the dominance of property in local tax bases as well as the general equilibrium effects of state or national intergovernmental programs such as redistributive grants in aid, district power equalization, and the deducibility of local taxes. Results in these areas are summarized and potential future applications discussed.
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