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This paper reviews the literature on public goods in relation to the following three questions. Why is government organized across multiple levels? Does efficiency determine the level at which decisions are made? Does efficiency frame how policy problems are bundled in jurisdictions? Rather than examine how government structure may or may not lead to efficient outcomes, this essay is concerned with how efficiency constrains government. Rather than explain variation in government, the concern here is to probe some fundamental commonalities in government structure. Such commonalities are sometimes taken for granted precisely because they appear to be constants in an otherwise fluctuating political universe.
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