nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2009‒04‒13
six papers chosen by
Oliver Budzinski
Philipps-University of Marburg

  1. Sequential versus simultaneous contributions to public goods: Experimental evidence By Simon Gaechter; Daniele Nosenzo; Elke Renner; Martin Sefton
  2. Decentralization and Access to Social Services in Colombia By Jean-Paul Faguet; Fabio Sánchez
  3. Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from U.S. Municipalities By Stephen Coate; Brian Knight
  4. Education and selective vouchers By Amedeo Piolatto
  5. Information integration – an essential pillar in e-government development By Hurbean, Luminita
  6. What can facilitate cooperation: Fairness, ineaulity aversion, punishment, norms or trust? By Urs Steiner Brandt

  1. By: Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham); Elke Renner (University of Nottingham); Martin Sefton (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: We report an experiment comparing sequential and simultaneous contributions to a public good in a quasi-linear two-person setting (Varian, Journal of Public Economics, 1994). Our findings support the theoretical argument that sequential contributions result in lower overall provision than simultaneous contributions. However, the distribution of contributions is not as predicted: late contributors are sometimes willing to punish early low contributors by contributing less than their best response. This induces early contributors to contribute more than they otherwise would. A consequence of this is that we fail to observe a predicted first mover advantage.
    Keywords: Public Goods; Voluntary Contributions; Sequential Moves; Experiment
    JEL: C92 H41
    Date: 2009–03
  2. By: Jean-Paul Faguet; Fabio Sánchez
    Abstract: A central claim in favor of decentralization is that it will improve access to public services, but few studies examine this question empirically. This paper explores the effects of decentralization on access to health and education in Colombia. We benefit from an original database that includes over 95% of Colombian municipalities. Our results show that decentralization improved enrollment rates in public schools and access of the poor to public health services. In both sectors, improving access was driven by the financial contributions of local governments. Our theoretical findings imply that local governments with better information about local preferences will concentrate their resources in the areas their voters care about most. The combination of empirical and theoretical results implies that decentralization provides local officials with the information and incentives they need to allocate resources in a manner responsive to voters’ needs, and improve the quality of expenditures so as to maximize their impact. The end result is greater usage of local services by citizens.
    Date: 2009–02–12
  3. By: Stephen Coate; Brian Knight
    Abstract: There are two main forms of government in U.S. cities: council-manager and mayor-council. This paper develops a theory of fiscal policy determination under these two forms. The theory predicts that expected public spending will be lower under mayor-council, but that either form of government could be favored by a majority of citizens. The latter prediction means that the theory is consistent with the co-existence of both government forms. Support for the former prediction is found in both a cross-sectional analysis and a panel analysis of changes in government form.
    JEL: D7 H7
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Amedeo Piolatto (Universidad de Alicante)
    Abstract: The literature on vouchers often concludes that a voucher-based system cannot be the outcome of a majority vote. This paper shows that it is possible to propose selective vouchers (of exogenous value) such that the majority of voters are in favour of selective vouchers. As long as the introduction of vouchers does not undermine the existence of public schools, introducing selective vouchers induces a Pareto improvement. Some agents use vouchers in equilibrium to buy private education, while the poorest agents continue attending public schools and enjoy an increase in per-capita expenditure.
    Keywords: positive public economics; education; vouchers; voting.
    JEL: H42 I20 I22 I28 I29 D70
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: Hurbean, Luminita
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explain and promote the need for ERP implementation in the public sector, to support the growing request for effective information systems, from the e-government viewpoint and under its influence. The paper also debates the major challenges in ERP implementation issued from research of published case studies. The challenges analysis turns out four major issues to address in order to overcome the integration obstacles and create a solid infrastructure for e-government.
    Keywords: integration; Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP); e-government; public sector; business process reengineering (BPR)
    JEL: O38 O33
    Date: 2008–05–05
  6. By: Urs Steiner Brandt (Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Almost all economic and public choice models assume that all people are exclusively pursuing their own material self-interests and do not care about "social" goals per se. Several (laboratory) experiments address the question of the general validity of this assumption. A consistent conclusion emerges that a significant number of people deviate from the assumption of selfish rational behaviour; this conclusion is robust with respect to the design of the experiments. Therefore, public choice comes with a price: the conclusions are based on the stylized stereotype of economic man, an assumption that is not fully satisfied. The purpose of this paper is to show how to incorporate otherregarding preferences into an otherwise traditional utility approach without losing predicting power or compromising the rationality assumption. On the contrary, since other-regarding preferences are based on observed behaviour, the predicting power increases; this is demonstrated at the end of this paper, where it is shown how other-regarding preferences can explain the existence and persistence of a welfare state and why people might act sustainably.
    Date: 2008–11

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