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An Intro to Local Government, Public Goods and Land Markets Based on Chapters 19 and 10 in Urban Economics by Arthur O’Sullivan, 5 th edition Adapted and.

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Presentation on theme: "An Intro to Local Government, Public Goods and Land Markets Based on Chapters 19 and 10 in Urban Economics by Arthur O’Sullivan, 5 th edition Adapted and."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Intro to Local Government, Public Goods and Land Markets Based on Chapters 19 and 10 in Urban Economics by Arthur O’Sullivan, 5 th edition Adapted and summarized by Austin Troy, University of Vermont

2 What is the role of government? Stabilization: monetary and fiscal policy used to control unemployment and inflation Redistribution: Taxation and transfers used to remedy inequities Resource allocation: makes production decisions either directly (e.g. through municipal utility) or indirectly (e.g. through subsidies or taxes on allocations). See Musgrave and Musgrave (1980)

3 Local Government Does not have the responsibility of fiscal stabilization for obvious reasons Does not have redistributive role because of mobility of citizens. Poor will immigrate and rich will emigrate to other city Both of these roles are better filled by national government Local government primarily fills third role

4 When does local government intervene in resource allocation? 1.Provides goods produced under natural monopoly conditions 2.Provides goods that generate positive externalities 3.Provides public goods

5 Externalities Represent a “market failure” Where one person or firm’s consumption of a good creates benefits or costs for others Individual makes a personally efficient decision (I.e. consumes until MB=MC) but externality causes there to be a social cost or benefit that is not considered; socially inefficient Causes divergence between private and social benefits and/or costs The cost or benefit is not “internalized” by producer

6 Positive Externalities (e.g.education) Marginal social benefit Marginal private benefit Marginal cost E’E* Subsidy amt E’=how much market would provide E*=socially optimal amount

7 Negative Externalities (e.g. pollution) Marginal social benefit Marginal private benefit Marginal social cost P’P* P’=pollution produced in private market P*=optimal pollution amount K=amount of externality Marginal private cost K

8 Natural Monopoly Where production of a good subject to large scale economics: that is, very big fixed costs, so those costs don’t get paid off until the scale of operation gets very large Private firms would underprovide service because high scale economies mean that average cost> marginal cost City must step in and make up deficit

9 Natural monopoly In absence of regulation, firm produces S’ and receives a price of P’ Problem is that firm producing at optimal point (S*) will lose money because D curve shows people not willing to pay that much But there is a social cost to not having enough bus service, so to get residents to buy the socially optimal amount, P must be lower than market price; locality must make up this difference If set at P*, then socially optimal amount of S* is demanded. Because falls below Av Cost, government must make up the difference

10 Natural Monopoly in Bus Service Demand= Marginal social Benefit LRAC LRMC Quantity deficit S’ S*= optimum P’ P* MR AC is declining over wide Q range, so MC < AC

11 Why Marginal Pricing? If profit = TR-TC, then want to produce where distance between two is maximized, which is where the slopes, or marginal values are the same P Q TR TC 

12 Marginal and Average Price Normally looks like this: MC gets bigger than AC P Q MC AC In natural monopoly the range where people are willing to pay is in the downward sloping area Normally MC=MR occurs where MC>AC but in Natural Monopoly large scale economies means one firm can set price higher and quantity lower that social optimum

13 Public Goods Provision Local governments provide goods that the market cannot provide either because they cannot price it, charge for it, or exclude

14 Public Good Characteristics Nonrivalrous: can be consumed by many at once, such as clean air –Pure local public is were MC of additional user=0; does not decrease other’s utility –Semi-rivalrous: where is non-rivalrous at small amounts or at certain times but not at others –E.g. streets may be non-rivalrous at certain times of day but not others

15 Public Good Characteristics Nonexcludable: impossible/impractical to exclude any from consuming –Examples: Defense, air waves, other examples? Hard to charge for the service Can’t tell who is willing to pay and who is not, who is benefiting and who not Some are non-excludable by choice, because alternative would be inequitable –Examples fire service

16 Pure and Partial Public Goods A common situation is that goods are non- rival at smaller usage levels, but rivalrous at large usage levels Example: with a park, an additional household’s use does not diminish anyone’s enjoyment, until you reach carrying capacity C at which point each marginal user does impose additional costs

17 Local Public Goods These are public goods where the benefit is confined to a contained geographic area, like a city. Ideally, the size of jurisdictions would be determined by the level of “localness” of the public goods being provided The more extensive the benefits, the larger the jurisdiction needed to internalize those

18 Why provide certain public goods at the local level? Wallace Oates (1972) proposed three criteria: 1.Diversity of Demand: “one size fits all” vs. local diversity of preferences 2.Externalities/spillovers: are external effects locally contained or do they spill over? 3.Scale economies: higher levels of government can leverage bigger scale economies The test for local provision of a public good is whether 1 outweighs 2 and 3

19 Tradeoff 1: Scale Economies v. Diversity of Demand Assume 1 public good (library service) and two municipalities in metro area High Demand in city H and low in L No externalities/spillovers between towns Scale economies: regional library can produce unit “literary services” cheaper than local library Identical services in towns

20 Who should make library allocation? If towns merge and form metro government, pool resources to build bigger library system, then good news is that cost/ unit service is lower, but bad news is that L is paying for more library service than they want and H is getting less library services/person than it had before. Only efficient to merge if savings due to scale economies are large relative to losses in efficiency from the uniformity of service provision

21 Empirical Results Moderate scale economies in things like sewer and water provision, because capital intensive Police, fire and schools, have scale economies (gains to scale) occurring until about 100,000 people, at which point fewer gains to consolidation Some areas have regional government entities that provide services with large scale economies

22 Tradeoff 2: Externalities vs. Demand Diversity Where service creates positive externalities that spill over into other jurisdictions, it will be underprovided, because they consider the costs but, not all the benefits Inefficiency occurs because boundaries of jurisdiction is too small to contain benefits

23 Example: Water pollution Town X in the Champlain Valley will underprovide stormwater management services (unless mandated) because benefits are realized by all Lake Champlain users, and they only consider local benefits

24 Example: Parks Provision Cities will tend to underprovide parks, because only consider benefits to local residents, when their parks could potentially be important resource for people regionally However, if a regional government takes over and DD is high, there will be too many parks for certain types of people and too few for others

25 Diversity of Demand and Spillovers Town S: small parks Town M: medium parks Town L: large parks MLB(s) MSB(s) MLB(m) MSB(m)MLB(l) MSB(l) S’ S* M’ M*L’ L* If externalities small, S’ will be close to S*, M’ close to M*, etc. Then, municipal decisions are efficient. This is reinforced if DD is very large and S* is far from M* etc.

26 Tradeoffs in level of PG provision: summary If DD is large relative to scale economies or spillovers, local is better If spillovers or scale economies are large relative to DD, then regional is better In previous slide, gaps between individual demanders are greater than gaps between MSB and MLB, so local provider is better

27 Examples Which category do these services fall into and why? –Flood control –Structural fire protection –Wildfire protection –Air quality –University system –Highway patrol

28 How much of a public good should a city provide? Park example: how big to make it? Assumptions: decisions made by majority rule, three-person city, no congestion, no spillover benefits Efficient amount: where MB of additional acre equals MC To get MB we add up everyone’s demand curves, which represent WTP

29 How big should park be? Marginal social benefit= MB 1+ MB 2+ MB 3 MB 1 MB 2 MB 3 MC 70 acres $60 Cost/ acre Here WTP > MC of additional acre Here WTP < MC of additional acre MB curves for three citizens Ideal amount is 70 acres

30 Methods for determining the amount of local public good 1.Benefits taxation: ideal, but impractical 2.Median voter: practical and common, but inefficient 3.Household mobility and sorting: practical and efficient under some conditions, but not necessarily equitable. We’ll talk about this after Spring Break

31 Benefit taxation Tax people on their WTP for the optimum size of the good (e.g. park) ; the greater the WTP, the greater the tax This will yield optimum amount of the park, even if population is heterogeneous Impractical because must know shape of everyone’s demand curves and because there is no incentive for taxpayers with high WTP to reveal that willingness

32 Median Voter Approach Assuming there is no interjurisdictional mobility Often such decisions made through vote Will efficient size be chosen? No, not when charged by benefits taxation This is because the Q will be chosen where the median voter’s private MB= marginal private cost, or tax MC= $60/acre so each citizen pays $20/acre

33 Park provision under voting Marginal social benefit= MB 1+ MB 2+ MB 3 MB 1 MB 2 MB 3 Marginal social cost 70 acres $60 Cost/ acre $20 Marginal private cost

34 Median voter rule In election between 115 and 55 acres, 55 would win because person 3 and person 2 would vote for it. In election between 10 and 55, 55 would win because person 1 and person 2 would vote for it. Where spending level vs. service is being voted on the median voter’s desired outcome gets the most votes. Inefficient because everyone pays equally, but some want it more than others The magnitude of persons 1 and 2’s preferences don’t matter because median will always win


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