Assistance to the Poor in a Federal System
NBER Working Paper No. 1715 (Also Reprint No. r0949)
This paper explores the roles of different levels of government in assisting the poor. Using a model with utility interdependence, the paper presents some theoretical results on how levels of poor relief vary with the extent of mobility of the poor under both centralized and decentralized systems of support. After surveying the relevant empirical work and the experience under the English Poor Laws, the paper argues for a basic role for central government in this function.
Published: Brown, Charles and Wallace Oates. "Assistance to the Poor in a Federal System," Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 32, No. 3, April 1987, pp. 307-330.