We analyze the optimal regional pattern of public employment in an information-constrained second-best redistribution policy showing that regionally differentiated public employment can serve as an expenditure side tagging device, bypassing or relaxing the equity-efficiency trade-off. The optimal pattern exhibits higher levels of public employment in low productivity regions and is more pronounced the higher is the degree of regional inequality within the country. Empirically, using a panel of European regions from 1995-2007, we find evidence that public employment is systematically higher in low productivity regions. The latter effect is stronger in countries with higher levels of regional inequality.
public employment redistribution regional inequality European regions