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On government centralization and fiscal referendums

  • Feld, Lars P.
  • Schaltegger, Christoph A.
  • Schnellenbach, Jan

Several authors have argued that a centralization of fiscal powers in a federation is less likely to occur if citizens have to approve a change in the assignments of responsibilities by a popular referendum. This outcome may be due to the fact that logrolling is more difficult under direct than under representative democracy. It may also be caused by citizens' fear that a centralization of fiscal authority facilitates the extraction of rents by the government or the legislature. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that centralization is less likely under referendum decision-making in the unique institutional setting of Switzerland. Using a panel of Swiss cantons from 1980 to 1998, the empirical analysis provides evidence that referendums induce less centralization of fiscal activities.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 52 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (May)
Pages: 611-645

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:52:y:2008:i:4:p:611-645
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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