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In this paper, we derive the rate distortion lower bounds of spatially scalable video coding techniques. The methods we evaluate are subband and pyramid motion compensation where temporal redundancies in the same spatial layer as well as interlayer spatial redundancies are exploited in the enhancement layer encoding. The rate distortion bounds are derived from rate distortion theory for stationary Gaussian signals where mean square error is used as the distortion criteria. Assuming that the base layer is encoded by a nonscalable video coder, we derive the rate distortion functions for the enhancement layer, which depend upon the power spectral density of the input signal, the motion prediction error probability density function and the base layer encoding performance. We will show that pyramid and subband methods are expected to outperform independently encoding the enhancement layer using motion-compensated prediction, in terms of rate distortion efficiency, when the base layer is encoded at a relatively higher quality or less accurate displacement estimation happens in the enhancement layer.