Fiscal decentralization and fiscal performance
AbstractA resurgence of recent interest in fiscal federalism has been a source of concern among macroeconomic stabilization experts. They argue that a decentralized fiscal system poses a threat to macroeconomic stability as it is incompatible with prudent monetary and fiscal management. The author addresses these concerns by taking a simple neo-institutional economics with an econometric analysis perspective. His analysis concludes that, contrary to a common misconception, fiscal decentralization is associated with improved fiscal performance and better functioning of internal common markets. Fiscal policy coordination represents an important challenge for federal systems. In this context, fiscal rules and institutions provide a useful framework but not necessarily a solution to this challenge. Fiscal rules binding on all levels can help sustain political commitment in countries having coalitions or fragmented regimes in power. Coordinating institutions help in the use of moral suasion to encourage a coordinated response. Industrial countries'experiences also show that unilaterally imposed federal controls and constraints on subnational governments typically do not work. Instead, societal norms based on fiscal conservatism such as the Swiss referenda and political activism of the electorate play important roles. Ultimately capital markets and bond-rating agencies provide more effective discipline on fiscal policy. In this context, it is important not to backstop state and local debt and not to allow ownership of the banks by any level of government. Transparency of the budgetary process and institutions, accountability to the electorate, and general availability of comparative data encourages fiscal discipline. Fiscal decentralization poses significant challenges for macroeconomic management. These challenges require careful design of monetary and fiscal institutions to overcome adverse incentives associated with the"common property"resource management problems or with rent seeking behavior. Experiences of federal countries indicate significant learning and adaptation of fiscal systems to create incentives compatible with fair play and to overcome incomplete contracts. This explains why that decentralized fiscal systems appear to do better than centralized fiscal systems on most aspects of monetary and fiscal policy management and transparent and accountable governance.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3786.
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Banks&Banking Reform; Economic Stabilization; Public Sector Economics&Finance; Economic Theory&Research; Financial Intermediation;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-01-01 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2006-01-01 (Development)
- NEP-MAC-2006-01-01 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-PBE-2006-01-01 (Public Economics)
- NEP-URE-2006-01-01 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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.:
- Jürgen von Hagen, 2002. "Fiscal Rules, Fiscal Institutions, and Fiscal Performance," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 263-284.
- Sebastian M. Saiegh & Mariano Tommasi, 1999. "Why is Argentina’s Fiscal Federalism so Inefficient? Entering the Labyrinth," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 169-209, May.
- Sheikh, Munir A & Winer, Stanley L, 1977. "Stabilization and Nonfederal Behaviour in an Open Federal State: An Econometric Study of the Fixed Exchange Rate, Canadian Case," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 195-211.
- Yingyi Qian, 2000. "The Process of China's Market Transition (1978-1998): The Evolutionary, Historical, and Comparative Perspectives," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 156(1), pages 151-, March.
- Shah, Anwar, 1990.
"The new fiscal federalism in Brazil,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
557, The World Bank.
- World Bank, 2002. "Brazil : Issues in Fiscal Federalism," World Bank Other Operational Studies 15417, The World Bank.
- von Hagen, Jurgen & Eichengreen, Barry, 1996. "Federalism, Fiscal Restraints, and European Monetary Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 134-38, May.
- Beck, Thorsten & Crivelli, Juan Miguel & Summerhill, William, 2005.
"State bank transformation in Brazil - choices and consequences,"
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Elsevier, vol. 29(8-9), pages 2223-2257, August.
- Beck, Thorsten & Crivelli, Juan Miguel & Summerhill, William, 2005. "State bank transformation in Brazil - choices and consequences," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3619, The World Bank.
- Beck, H.T.L. & Crivelli, J. & W. Summerhill, W., 2005. "State bank transformation in Brazil: Choice and consequences," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125504, Tilburg University.
- Anwar Shah, 1996. "A Fiscal Need Approach to Equalization," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(2), pages 99-115, June.
- Era Dabla-Norris, 2005. "Issues in Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in China," IMF Working Papers 05/30, International Monetary Fund.
- Shankar, Raja & Shah, Anwar, 2003. "Bridging the Economic Divide Within Countries: A Scorecard on the Performance of Regional Policies in Reducing Regional Income Disparities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1421-1441, August.
- Kletzer, Kenneth M. & von Hagen, Jürgen, 2000.
"Monetary union and fiscal federalism,"
ZEI Working Papers
B 01-2000, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
- Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2003. "Who gets credit? The behavior of bureaucrats and state banks in allocating credit to Chinese state-owned enterprises," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 533-559, August.
- Yiping Huang & Yongzheng Yang, 1998. "China's Financial Fragility and Policy Responses," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 12(2), pages 1-9, November.
- Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1991. "Fiscal Federalism in Europe: Lessons From the United States Experience," NBER Working Papers 3941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- William A. Niskanen, 1992. "Political Guidance on Monetary Policy," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 12(1), pages 281-286, Spring/Su.
- Boadway, Robin & Roberts, Sandra & Shah, Anwar, 1994. "The reform of fiscal systems in developing and emerging market economies : a federalism perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1259, The World Bank.
- Pablo Sanguinetti, 1994. "Intergovernmental transfers and public sector expenditures: a game-theoretic approach," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 21(2 Year 19), pages 179-212, December.
- William A. Niskanen, 1992. "The Case for a New Fiscal Constitution," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 13-24, Spring.
- Seabright, Paul, 1994.
"Accountability and Decentralization in Government: An Incomplete Contracts Model,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
- von Hagen, Jürgen & Mundschenk, Susanne, 2001. "The functioning of economic policy coordination," ZEI Working Papers B 08-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
- Timothy D. Lane, 1993. "Market Discipline," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(1), pages 53-88, March.
- Vito Tanzi, 1995. "Government Role and the Efficiency of Policy Instruments," IMF Working Papers 95/100, International Monetary Fund.
- Suzanne Kennedy & Janine Robbins, . "The Role of Fiscal Rules in Determining Fiscal Performance," Working Papers-Department of Finance Canada 2001-16, Department of Finance Canada.
- Prud'homme, Remy, 1995. "The Dangers of Decentralization," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 201-20, August.
- Jones, Mark P. & Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2000. "Politics, institutions, and fiscal performance in a federal system: an analysis of the Argentine provinces," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 305-333, April.
- Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Zafarullah, 2009. "Decentralization, Subnational Governments' Behaviour and Macroeconomic Instability: The Case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 19071, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Llanto, Gilberto M., 2009. "Fiscal Decentralization and Local Finance Reforms in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2009-10, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.