Quasi-Public Spending

55 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016 Last revised: 5 Nov 2020

See all articles by John R. Brooks

John R. Brooks

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

The United States has increasingly designed certain public spending programs not as traditional tax-financed programs, but rather as mixtures of private expenditures, subsidies, and limited taxes. Thus part of what could have gone to the government as a tax is instead used to purchase the good or service directly, with only incremental taxes and subsidies to manage distributional goals. This Article terms this “quasi-public spending,” and argues that it is descriptive of our evolving approaches to both health care and higher education. Based on this observation, the Article defines and analyzes quasi-public spending and compares it to both traditional public spending and tax expenditures. The Article finds that in some situations, quasi-public spending may be a worthwhile approach to financing public programs, though with some qualifications. Based on this analysis, the Article puts forward a framework for when policymakers should use quasi-public spending and applies that framework to a number of policy questions.

JEL Classification: H51, H52

Suggested Citation

Brooks, John R., Quasi-Public Spending (2016). Georgetown Law Journal, Vol. 104, pp, 1057-1110 (2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2718488

John R. Brooks (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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