Regional-local dimension of Russia's fiscal equalization
National equalization policies often are concerned with the quality and accessibility of services delivered at the lowest (or local) level of government. When these policies are implemented in a hierarchical fashion through the intermediate level governments, the central government pursuing equalization goals needs to take into account possible offsetting effects originating in regional or provincial government policies. In this paper, we examine recent fiscal equalization outcomes for about 2000 Russian local governments to assess and explain the extent of equalization differences between and within regions. In particular, we examine the claim that intraregional policies should be blamed for rising disparities in local fiscal outcomes despite Russia's federal government efforts to equalize sub-national government finances. Regional policies improve equalization outcomes, but the degree of equalization effort varies greatly across the regions as a result of political and socio-economic factors, partially identified in this study. Journal of Comparative Economics 36 (1) (2008) 157-176.
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