I am grateful to the following individuals, who provided valuable comments on this project: Brandice Canes-Wrone, Sven Feldmann, Jacob Gersen, Sanford Gordon, Mark Hansen, William Howell, John Matsusaka, Mathew McCubbins, Jeff Milyo, Michael Munger, Sam Peltzman, Paul Peterson, Richard Posner, Marcos Rangel, Francesco Trebbi, Martin West, and anonymous reviewers. All remaining mistakes are my own—although with so many smart people having read the article, someone really should have caught them.
Piling On: Multilevel Government and the Fiscal Common-Pool
Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
©2008, Midwest Political Science Association
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 52, Issue 4, pages 802–820, October 2008
How to Cite
Berry, C. (2008), Piling On: Multilevel Government and the Fiscal Common-Pool. American Journal of Political Science, 52: 802–820. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00344.x
- Issue published online: 29 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 29 SEP 2008
This article discusses the common-pool problems that arise when multiple territorially overlapping governments share the authority to provide services and levy taxes in a common geographic area. Contrary to the traditional Tiebout model in which increasing the number of competing governments improves efficiency, I argue that increasing the number of overlapping governments results in “overfishing” from the shared tax base. I test the model empirically using data from U.S. counties and find a strong positive relationship between the number of overlapping jurisdictions and the size of the local public sector. Substantively, the “overlap effect” amounts to roughly 10% of local revenue.