Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Decentralization and Fiscal Discipline in Subnational Governments:The Bailout Problem in Uruguay


Author Info

  • Fernando Filgueira
  • Fernando Lorenzo
  • Juan Andrés Moraes
  • Herman Kamil
  • Andrés Rius


This paper analyzes the reasons behind Central Government (CG) bailouts of Subnational Governments (SNGs) in the case of Uruguay. We argued that Uruguay represents a good example of the risks of fiscal decentralization, in the context of adjustment policies, and when SNGs` responsibilities and resources have not been carefully defined. We show that, in unitary countries where SNGs lack the opportunities to misbehave that they have in federal countries (e. g. , public debt issuance, international borrowing), SNG officials find ways to finance deficits through non-compliance with politically contestable obligations. In particular, SNGs in Uruguay finance their deficits by accumulating debts with other government agencies and obtaining discretionary transfers from the CG. Through statistical analyses we show that debts and deficits are mainly related to vertical fiscal imbalances and economic conditions in the SN jurisdictions. Yet, the analysis of recent bailout episodes suggests that institutions and political factors play a role (i. e. , they are important ex-post factors). This implies that bailouts have been more than simple compensations for structural imbalances, thus creating opportunities for strategic behavior on the part of SNG authorities (partly confirmed by the disparate fiscal performance of Montevideo vis-à-vis the rest of the country).

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3152.

as in new window
Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3152

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1300 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20577
Phone: 202-623-1000
Web page:
More information through EDIRC

Related research



References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Ricardo Hausmann & Alberto Alesina & Rudolf Hommes & Ernesto H. Stein, 1998. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Performance in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Aldasoro, Iñaki & Seiferling, Mike, 2014. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and the accumulation of government debt," SAFE Working Paper Series 61, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.


This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3152. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Monica Bazan).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.