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Reexamining The Determinants Of Fiscal Decentralization: What Is The Role Of Geography?

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the existing literature on the determinants of fiscal decentralization by motivating theoretically and exploring in depth the empirical relevance that geography has as determinant of fiscal decentralization. The relationship between decentralization and geography is based on the logic that more geographically diverse countries show greater heterogeneity among their citizens, including their preferences and needs for public goods and services provision. Communications and physical distance are also a very important issue and play a key role on the effect of geography over time. The theoretical model builds on the work by Arzaghi and Henderson (2002) and Panizza (1999). For the empirical estimation we use a panel data set for approximately 91 countries for the period 1960-2005. Physical geography is measured along several dimensions including elevation, land area, and climate. We construct a geographical fragmentation index and test its effect on fiscal decentralization. In addition, we interact the geographical fragmentation index with time variant infrastructure variables, in order to test the effect that infrastructure and communications have on the relationship between geography and fiscal decentralization. For robustness, we construct Gini coefficients for in-country elevation and climate. We find a positive and strong correlation between geographical factors and fiscal decentralization. We also find that while the development of infrastructure (in transportation, communications, etc.) tends to reduce the effect of geography on decentralization, this effect is rather small and mostly statistically insignificant, meaning that the impact of geography survives over time. The additional value added of this strategy is that geography and its interaction with infrastructure development may be used as an instrument for decentralization in future econometric estimations, where decentralization is used as an explanatory variable but it may be suspected to be endogenous to the economic process being studied (economic growth, political instability, macroeconomic stability, income distribution, etc.)

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File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/icepp/wp/ispwp1211.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper1211.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 08 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper1211

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Related research

Keywords: revenue mobilization; fiscal decentralization; Peru;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

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  1. Cristian F Sepulveda & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2011. "The consequences of fiscal decentralization on poverty and income equality," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(2), pages 321-343, April.
  2. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "The Seamless World: A Spatial Model of International Specialization," NBER Working Papers 5220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," NBER Working Papers 6849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 2005. "Frontiers of the New Economic Geography," IDE Discussion Papers 27, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  5. Dan Stegarescu, 2005. "Public sector decentralisation: measurement concepts and recent international trends," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 301-333, September.
  6. Roy Bahl, 1999. "Implementation Rules For Fiscal Decentralization," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9901, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  7. R W Bahl & S Nath, 1986. "Public expenditure decentralization in developing countries," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 4(4), pages 405-418, August.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
  11. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1998. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1856, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Andrey Timofeev, 2008. "A fiscal perspective of state rescaling," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 2(1), pages 85-105.
  13. Oates, Wallace E, 1985. "Searching for Leviathan: An Empirical Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 748-57, September.
  14. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
  15. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  16. Patsouratis, Vassilis A, 1990. "Fiscal Decentralization in the EEC Countries," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 45(3), pages 423-39.
  17. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
  18. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  19. John Luke Gallup & Alejandro Gaviria & Eduardo Lora, 2003. "Is Geography Destiny? Lessons from Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14454, October.
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