SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

It is well known that public goods are underprovided in a static setting with voluntary contributions. Public provision—in a median voter framework with proportional taxation—generally exceeds private provision. This paper compares private and public provision of public goods in a dynamic setting. In a dynamic setting, voluntary donations can result in efficient provision. Also, majority-rule solutions exist even when taxes are not proportional to income. At low discount factors, public provision tends to exceed private provision. As patience increases, however, private provision may exceed public provision. This occurs because many outcomes with a low level of public good provision—and potentially large targeted transfer payments to particular individuals—become sustainable under public provision. Under private provision, however, large targeted transfers are unsustainable. To finance the public good, private provision tends to result in benefit taxation, and public provision tends to result in progressive taxation.