A model of the optimal allocation of government expenditures

Simon FAN, Yu PANG*, Pierre PESTIEAU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Government expenditures can be used for various socioeconomic objectives, including public education, consumption of public goods and services, and social protection. This paper analyzes the optimal allocation of public expenditures among these competing functions. We establish an overlapping generations model with heterogeneous individuals in which the government optimally chooses income tax, transfer payment, educational spending, and public consumption. Our model characterizes the transitional dynamics and the steady state of each function with and without a pay‐as‐you‐go intergenerational contract. We also conduct a simulation illustrating that the presence of an intergenerational contract may raise public consumption and social welfare in the steady state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-876
JournalJournal of Public Economic Theory
Issue number4
Early online date19 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • government spending
  • individual heterogeneity
  • public consumption
  • public education

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