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Decentralization via Federal and Unitary Referenda

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  • Ben Lockwood

Abstract

This paper studies a model where the power to set policy (a choice of project) may be assigned to central or regional government via either a federal or unitary referendum. The benefit of central provision is an economy of scale, while the cost is political inefficiency. The relationship between federal and unitary referenda is characterized in the asymptotic case as the number of regions becomes large, under the assumption that the median project benefit in any region is a random draw from a fixed distribution, G. Under some symmetry assumptions, the relationship depends only on the shape of G, not on how willingness to pay is distributed within regions. The relationship to Cremer and Palfrey's "principle of aggregation" is established. Asymptotic results on the efficiency of the two referenda are also proved. Copyright 2004 Blackwell Publishing Inc..

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Lockwood, 2004. "Decentralization via Federal and Unitary Referenda," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 79-108, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:6:y:2004:i:1:p:79-108
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach & Christoph A Schaltegger, 2004. "On Government Centralization and Fiscal Referendums: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Switzerland," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200419, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the Federation]
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Lockwood, Ben, 2005. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Political Economy Perspective," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 721, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    4. Brosio, Giorgio & Zanola, Roberto, 2008. "The welfare costs of national standards: a contribution to the debate on the outcomes of de/centralization," POLIS Working Papers 113, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    5. Marco Alderighi & Christophe Feder, 2014. "Political competition, power allocation and welfare in unitary and federal systems," Working Paper series 23_14, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    6. Libman, Alexander, 2008. "Endogenous (De)Centralization and the Russian Federalism," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 9(1), pages 23-57.
    7. Feld, Lars P. & Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2008. "On government centralization and fiscal referendums," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 611-645, May.
    8. Stuti Khemani, 2010. "Decentralization by Politicians: Creation of Grants-financed Local Jurisdictions," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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