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The Macroeconomic Impact of Decentralized Spending and Deficits: International Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Francesca Fornasari

    (The World Bank)

  • Steven B. Webb

    (The World Bank)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
    Institute for Advanced School, Wuhan University
    The World Bank)

Abstract

The main macroeconomic questions about decentralization are whether it has led to an overall expansion of the public sector or to unsustainable fiscal deficits. In the long term, subnational spending contributes to a larger overall government sector, but steady subnational deficits do not affect the average level of central government deficits, according to our economic analysis of 32 industrial and developing countries, 1980-94. Increases of subnational spending and deficits, however, lead to increases in spending and deficits at the national level. The relationships are strong economically as well as significant statistically. We can reject the hypothesis that increases of transfers between central and subnational governments are usually determined exogenously by the center.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesca Fornasari & Steven B. Webb & Heng-fu Zou, 2000. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Decentralized Spending and Deficits: International Evidence," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 1(2), pages 403-433, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:cuf:journl:y:2000:v:1:i:2:p:403-433
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:91:y:1997:i:02:p:245-263_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
    4. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
    5. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zareh Asatryan & Lars Feld & Benny Geys, 2015. "Partial fiscal decentralization and sub-national government fiscal discipline: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 307-320, June.
    2. Jing Jin & Chunli Shen & Heng-fu Zou, 2012. "Fiscal Decentralization and Peasants' Financial Burden in China," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 13(1), pages 53-90, May.
    3. Serhan Cevik, 2017. "Size matters: fragmentation and vertical fiscal imbalances in Moldova," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 44(2), pages 367-381, May.
    4. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic, 2017. "How well do subnational borrowing regulations work?," Chapters,in: Central and Local Government Relations in Asia, chapter 5, pages 161-220 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Jin, Jing & Zou, Heng-fu, 2002. "How does fiscal decentralization affect aggregate, national, and subnational government size?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 270-293, September.
    6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2005. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Comparative Study of China and India (2005)," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0519, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Zafarullah & Abdul Karim, Noor Al-Huda, 2008. "Constraining the spending behavior of subnational governments through borrowing limitation: The case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 25234, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
    9. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.
    10. Luc Eyraud & Marialuz Moreno Badia, 2013. "Too Small to Fail? Subnational Spending Pressures in Europe," IMF Working Papers 13/46, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2010. "On the link between fiscal decentralization and public debt in OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 351-378, December.
    12. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:1095-1129 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Santiago Lago-Peñasa & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Agnese Sacchic, 2018. "Fiscal stability during the Great Recession: Putting decentralization design to the test," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1805, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    14. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    15. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2012. "Tax Decentralization and Public Deficits in OECD Countries," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 688-707, October.
    16. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Are fiscal adjustments less successful in decentralized governments?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 115-123, March.
    17. Iqbal, Nasir & Nawaz, Saima, 2010. "Fiscal Decentralization and Macroeconomic Stability: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," MPRA Paper 27184, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Eyraud, Luc & Lusinyan, Lusine, 2013. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and fiscal performance in advanced economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 571-587.
    19. Wang, Zhiguo & Ma, Liang, 2012. "New Development of Fiscal Decentralization in China," MPRA Paper 36918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Zhiguo Wang & Liang Ma, 2014. "Fiscal Decentralization in China: A Literature Review," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 51-65, May.
    21. Catriona Purfield, 2004. "The Decentralization Dilemma in India," IMF Working Papers 04/32, International Monetary Fund.
    22. Juncheng Feng & Rui Hao & Yang Li & Kezhong Zhang, 2012. "The Effect of Leadership Transition on Government Expenditure: Evidence from China," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 13(1), pages 91-112, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Decentralization; Public spending; Deficits;

    JEL classification:

    • E5 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies

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