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Voting, Lobbying, and the Decentralization Theorem

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  • Lockwood, Ben

    (University of Warwick and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper revisits the fiscal "decentralization theorem", by relaxing the role of the assumption that governments are benevolent, while retaining the assumption of policy uniformity. If instead, decisions are made by direct majority voting, (i) centralization can welfare-dominate decentralization even if there are no externalities and regions are heterogenous ; (ii) decentralization can welfare-dominate centralization even if there are positive externalities and regions are homogenous. The intuition is that the insensitivity of majority voting to preference intensity interacts with the different inefficiencies in the two fiscal regimes to give second-best results. Similar results obtain when governments are benevolent, but subject to lobbying, because now decisions are too sensitive to the preferences of the organised group.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 798.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:798

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Keywords: Decentralization; majority voting; lobbying; local public goods.;

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  1. Michela Redoano, 2010. "Does Centralization Affect the Number and Size of Lobbies?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(3), pages 407-435, 06.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1939, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Aidt, T. & Dutta, J., 2010. "Fiscal Federalism and Electoral Accountability," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1021, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Weingast, Barry R., 2014. "Second Generation Fiscal Federalism: Political Aspects of Decentralization and Economic Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 14-25.
  3. Martin Gregor & Lenka Šastná, 2011. "The Decentralization Tradeoff for Complementary Spillovers," Working Papers IES 2011/13, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Apr 2011.
  4. Ruta, Michele, 2009. "Political constraints to growth in an economic union," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 989-997, August.
  5. Inga Hillesheim, 2012. "Relative consumption and majority voting: supplementing Oates’ “Decentralization Theorem”," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 105(1), pages 29-43, January.
  6. Fabio Padovano, 2013. "Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in the analysis of political competition?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 631-651, September.

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