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Do Politicians Free-ride? - an empirical test of the common pool model

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Author Info

  • Tyrefors, Björn

    ()
    (Dept. of Economic Statistics, Stockholm School of Economics)

Abstract

In the twentieth century there was a significant trend towards larger local governments through amalgamations in the western world. Amalgamations provide potential economic benefits but might also give rise to costs driven by opportunistic political behavior. This study uses a compulsory amalgamation reform of municipalities in Sweden to test for such behavior. The reform gives a local government incentives to accumulate debt before the amalgamation takes place, since the cost will be shared by all tax payers in the new municipality. The strength of this incentive to free ride will be determined by the locality's population size, relative to the future size of the new locality. We find an economically large and statistically significant free riding effect and the result is robust.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 626.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 26 Apr 2006
Date of revision: 19 Sep 2006
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0626

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Related research

Keywords: common pool; amalgamations; free riding; local government; difference-in-difference;

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References

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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
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  3. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
  4. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Dahlberg, Matz, 2003. "An Empirical Approach for Evaluating Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 2003:28, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  6. Reza Baqir, 2002. "Districting and Government Overspending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(6), pages 1318-1354, December.
  7. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 1998. "Empirical Strategies in Labor Economics," Working papers 98-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-19, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Jordahl, Henrik & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2006. "Merged Municipalities, Higher Debt: On Free-riding and the Common Pool Problem in Politics," Ratio Working Papers 107, The Ratio Institute.

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