In this article the distribution of the state functions between the central and local governments in Japan and Korea is analyzed by applying the public choice model with comparative data of the United States. According to the public choice model, functional allocations between the central and local governments are the results of rational choice of related actors. By applying the model to the United States with the data of 1960s and 1970s, Peterson proved its relevance. A similar result is found from the analysis of the Japanese data of the late 1980s and 1990s: i. e., The expenditure for allocational policy was conducted mainly by the local governments, while those for redistributive policy by the central government. The Korean data of the late 1980s and the 1990s, however, show the opposite case, so do not fit the propositions of the public choice model. Such a difference between Japan and Korea can be explained by the different paths of institutionalization of local autonomy.