This setting lets you change the way you view articles. You can choose to have articles open in a dialog window, a new tab, or directly in the same window.
Open in Dialog
Open in New Tab
Open in same window

Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 11 No. 4 (Fall 1997)


Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter


JEP - All Issues

Tiebout? Or Not Tiebout? The Market Metaphor and America's Devolution Debate

Article Citation

Donahue, John D. 1997. "Tiebout? Or Not Tiebout? The Market Metaphor and America's Devolution Debate." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 11(4): 73-81.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.11.4.73


The market metaphor of intergovernmental choice as a spur to efficiency (formalized by Charles M. Tiebout) is often invoked to support the shift away from Washington and toward the states. But the model translates badly to governments; governmental entry and exit is costly. Public-sector co11usion often serves citizens' interests. Heterogeneous mobility distorts the signals sent by interstate migration. And while Tiebout (and followers) condition efficiency predictions on optimal distribution, the U.S. devolution movement coincides with rising inequality and has gone furthest where distribution matters most. The metaphor is misapplied. Devolution will likely do more to enfeeble government than to improve it.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article (Complimentary)


Donahue, John D. (Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

H73: State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations: Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
H11: Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
H77: Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism; Secession


View Comments on This Article (0) | Login to post a comment

Journal of Economic Perspectives

Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)


JEP - All Issues

Virtual Field Journals

AEA Member Login:

AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us