Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Umeå Economic Studies,
Umeå University, Department of Economics

No 944: Habit Formation and the Pareto-Efficient Provision of Public Goods

Thomas Aronsson () and Ronnie Schöb ()
Additional contact information
Thomas Aronsson: Department of Economics, Umeå University, Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Ronnie Schöb: Freie Universität Berlin

Abstract: This paper examines the implications of habit formation in private and public consumption for the Pareto-efficient provision of public goods, based on a two-period model with nonlinear taxation. If the public good supply is time-invariant, the presence of habit formation generally alters the standard rules for public good provision. In contrast, if the public good is a flow-variable such that the government directly decides on the level of the public good in each period, habit formation leads to a modification of the first best Samuelson condition only if the degrees of habituation differ for private and public consumption. Since habit formation affects the incentives to relax the self-selection constraint through public good provision, however, habituation alters the second-best analogue to the Samuelson condition also when the degrees of habituation in private and public consumption coincide.

Keywords: Public good provision; Samuelson condition; habit formation; optimal taxation

JEL-codes: D60; H21; H41

20 pages, January 16, 2017

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