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Citizens' control and the efficiency of local public services

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Author Info

  • Núria Bosch Roca

    ()
    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Marta Espasa Queralt

    ()
    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Antoni Mora Corral

    ()
    (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya & IEB)

Abstract

It is generally accepted that fiscal decentralization increases citizens’ control over politicians, fostering accountability and increasing efficiency. This article identifies the socioeconomic characteristics of citizens (potential voters) that increase their control over local policy-makers and thus generate greater efficiency in a decentralized context. We also highlight the fiscal characteristics of local governments that influence this control and efficiency. The study examines a sample of Spanish municipalities, applying a methodology based on the conventional procedure of two-stage estimation. In the first stage we estimate the efficiency of local public services by calculating a new version of a global output indicator using the DEA technique. In the second stage, using a Tobit type estimation (censored models) and bootstrap methods, we show how the factors mentioned may influence efficiency. The results suggest that strong presence of retailers, retired people, and people entitled to vote favour citizens’ control, which fosters accountability and efficiency. A factor that facilitates this control, and therefore greater efficiency, is the presence of low opportunity costs for obtaining information regarding local public service management.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2010/23.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2010/10/doc2010-23

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Keywords: Technical efficiency; local governments; citizens' control; socioeconomic and fiscal variables;

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  1. De Borger, Bruno & Kerstens, Kristiaan, 1996. "Cost efficiency of Belgian local governments: A comparative analysis of FDH, DEA, and econometric approaches," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 145-170, April.
  2. De Borger, B, et al, 1994. " Explaining Differences in Productive Efficiency: An Application to Belgian Municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 80(3-4), pages 339-58, September.
  3. M. Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Diego Prior, 2009. "Short- and long-term evaluation of efficiency and quality. An application to Spanish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(23), pages 2991-3002.
  4. Victor M. Giménez & Diego Prior, 2007. "Long- and Short-Term Cost Efficiency Frontier Evaluation: Evidence from Spanish Local Governments," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 121-139, 03.
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Cited by:
  1. Craig, Christopher A. & Allen, Myria W., 2014. "Enhanced understanding of energy ratepayers: Factors influencing perceptions of government energy efficiency subsidies and utility alternative energy use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 224-233.

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