The optimal division of government expenditure between public goods and transfer payments

John Creedy, Solmaz Moslehi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper examines the optimal ratio of transfer payments to expenditure on public goods, for a given income tax rate. The transfer payment is then determined by the government's budget constraint. The optimal ratio of transfers to public good expenditure per person is expressed as a function of the ratio of the median to the arithmetic mean wage, and of the tax rate. Reductions in the skewness of the wage rate distribution are associated with reductions in transfer payments relative to public goods expenditure, at a decreasing rate. Furthermore, increases in the tax rate, from relatively low levels, are associated with increases in the relative importance of transfer payments. But beyond a certain level, further tax rate increases are associated with a lower ratio of transfers to public goods, because of adverse incentive effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-100
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Economic Papers
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

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