Discussion Paper, School of Business & Economics: Economics 2017/1
This paper examines the implications of habit formation in private and public consumption for the Pareto-efficient provision of public goods, based on a two-period model with nonlinear taxation. If the public good supply is time-invariant, the presence of habit formation generally alters the standard rules for public good provision. In contrast, if the public good is a flow-variable such that the government directly decides on the level of the public good in each period, habit formation leads to a modification of the first best Samuelson condition only if the degrees of habituation differ for private and public consumption. Since habit formation affects the incentives to relax the self-selection constraint through public good provision, however, habituation alters the second-best analogue to the Samuelson condition also when the degrees of habituation in private and public consumption coincide.
public good provision Samuelson condition habit formation optimal taxation