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Subnational Government Bailouts in OECD Countries: Four Case Studies

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  • Jürgen Von Hagen
  • Massimo Bordignon
  • Bhajan S. Grewal
  • Per Peterson
  • Helmut Seitz
  • Matz Dahlberg

Abstract

We present four case studies of bailouts of subnational governments in Australia, Germany, Italy and Sweden. The case studies show that bailouts can occur in a diverse set of institutions shaping the relations between central and subnational governments. Surpisingly, there is little evidence in favor of the `too big to fail` argument explaining bailouts. In contrast, elements of political favoritism play some role in most cases. The cases also indicate the importance of properly designing principal-agent relationships in the decentralization of public finances. Constitutional mandates for uniform provision of public services and attempts by the central government to dominate subnational governments in matters of fiscal policy seem to be conducive to bailouts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3100.

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Date of creation: Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3100

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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Does centralization increase the size of government?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 765-773, April.
  2. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  3. Dewatripont, M & Maskin, E, 1995. "Credit and Efficiency in Centralized and Decentralized Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(4), pages 541-55, October.
  4. Wildasin, David E., 1998. "Fiscal aspect of evolving federations : issues for policy and research," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1884, The World Bank.
  5. Barry Eichengreen and Jurgen von Hagen., 1995. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Union: Federalism, Fiscal Restrictions and the No-Bailout Rule," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers C95-056, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Massimo Bordignon, 2000. "Problems of Soft Budget Constraints in Intergovernmental Relationships: The Case of Italy," Research Department Publications 3099, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2006. "(When) Are Intergovernmental Transfers Used to Bail Out Regional Governments? Evidence from Spain 1986-2001," Working Papers 2006/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Van Hecke, Annelore, 2013. "Vertical debt spillovers in EMU countries," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 468-492.
  3. Luc Eyraud & Anita Tuladhar & Julio Escolano & Marialuz Moreno Badia & Juliane Sarnes, 2012. "Fiscal Performance, Institutional Design and Decentralization in European Union Countries," IMF Working Papers 12/45, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Ernesto Crivelli & Klaas Staal, 2006. "Size and Soft Budget Constraints," Working Papers 2006-13, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  5. Naeem ur Rehman Khattak & Iftikhar Ahmad & Jangraiz Khan, 2010. "Fiscal Decentralisation in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 49(4), pages 419–436.
  6. Ernesto Crivelli & Klaas Staal, 2008. "Size, Spillovers and Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2008_17, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  7. Diego Martínez López & Salvador Barrios, 2013. "Fiscal equalisation schemes and sub-central government borrowing," Working Papers. Serie EC 2013-03, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  8. Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2011. "Bailouts in a fiscal federal system: Evidence from Spain," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 154-170, March.
  9. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2012. "Tax Decentralization and Public Deficits in OECD Countries," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 688-707, October.
  10. Foremny, Dirk, 2011. "Vertical aspects of sub-national deficits: the impact of fiscal rules and tax autonomy in European countries," MPRA Paper 32998, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.
  12. Eyraud, Luc & Lusinyan, Lusine, 2013. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and fiscal performance in advanced economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 571-587.

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