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Overlapping jurisdictions: Substitutes or complements?


This paper presents a simple model of the demand relationship between the activities undertaken by overlapping governments and uses the framework to estimate the relationship between municipal and county expenditures. The empirical results reveal a complementary relationship between county and city general expenditures; any public sector expansion effects of monopoly power at the county level will therefore be reinforced by greater municipal spending, further expanding the total size of the local public sector. On the other hand, changes in county police and roads expenditures appear to have no strong stable impact on municipal police and roads expenditures, respectively, providing no reinforcing or offsetting municipal spending responses to decisions at the county level.

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The authors thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments.

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Turnbull, G.K., Djoundourian, S.S. Overlapping jurisdictions: Substitutes or complements?. Public Choice 75, 231–245 (1993).

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  • Simple Model
  • Public Sector
  • Empirical Result
  • Public Finance
  • Total Size