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Decentralization of government and contracting with the private sector

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  • Darwin Cortés

    ()
    (Universidad del Rosario)

Abstract

Using a simple model of incomplete contracts to characterize the relationship between decentralization and contracting with the private sector, I show that, provided that the expected reduction in quality is low, more decentralized local governments will contract more with the private sector. Then, I use the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia to test these ideas. Particularly important, the reform entitles more decentralized municipalities to sign subsidy contracts with private schools, and departments (a higher level of government) to do so for the less decentralized municipalities. I take advantage of the fact that the level of decentralization is decided using an exogenous population threshold to identify causal effects using Regression Discontinuity Design. The empirical results are consistent with the prediction of the model. More decentralized municipalities subsidize more students in private schools. There are no significant differences in enrolment in public schools across more and less decentralized municipalities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2011/43.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/1/doc2011-43

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Related research

Keywords: Decentralization; contracts with the private sector; education reform; RDD; Colombia;

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References

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  1. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Erik Bloom & Elizabeth King & Michael Kremer, 2002. "Vouchers for Private Schooling in Colombia: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1535-1558, December.
  2. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  3. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," NBER Working Papers 5744, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
  5. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "Decentralization and the productive efficiency of government: Evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1197-1218, June.
  6. Urquiola, Miguel & Verhoogen, Eric A., 2007. "Class Size and Sorting in Market Equilibrium: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6425, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Ruben Enikolopov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Decentralization and Political Institutions," Working Papers w0065, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  8. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  10. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
  11. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
  12. Faguet, Jean-Paul, 2004. "Does decentralization increase government responsiveness to local needs?: Evidence from Bolivia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 867-893, March.
  13. Myerson, Roger B., 2006. "Federalism and Incentives for Success of Democracy," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 3-23, January.
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