Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article lays out the economists' view of why state and local government matters. To establish the economic framework, the article systematically works through the seminal contributions of Paul Samuelson's theoretical arguments of the importance of a public-sector role for efficiency in resource allocation; Charles Tiebout's thinking on the difference between national and local public goods; Richard Musgrave's classification of the fiscal “branches” of a decentralized federalist system; and Wallace Oates's Decentralization Theorem. It is from this platform that the article proceeds to address three fundamental fiscal policy issues for a multigovernmental society (e.g., US fiscal federalism): the sorting out of expenditure responsibilities among different types of governments (“expenditure assignment”); the question of which type of government should use which type of revenue (“revenue assignment”), and what happens when, for many state and local governments, the costs of the allocation of expenditure responsibilities are greater than that which can be financed from their “own” state/local revenues (the role of “intergovernmental transfers”).

Keywords: local government finance, resource allocation, public sector, public goods, decentralization, fiscal federalism

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.