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Mixing Government with Voluntaryism

Lancaster, Kelvin

The provision of public goods by voluntary contributions alone is feasible but the outcome is suboptimal. This paper examines the potential for government supplementation of the voluntary contribution system in order to retain the basic features but improve the outcome. it is shown that attempted supplementation through taxes or subsidies either has no effect or does actual harm. In general, a pure voluntary system or a complete government override is superior to a government-voluntary mix. The supporting propositions, both old and new, are derived from a simple unified treatment of the voluntary contribution system in a variety of contexts.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 9596-34
Published Here
March 3, 2011


August 1996

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