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Revisiting the "Decentralization Theorem"--On the role of externalities

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  • Koethenbuerger, Marko

Abstract

The "Decentralization Theorem" [Oates, W.E., 1972. Fiscal Federalism. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York] is central to the discussion of fiscal federalism. We revisit the role of consumption spillovers in evaluating the merits of (de)centralization. Unlike the general prediction, a higher degree of spillovers may reduce the difference in utility of centralization and decentralization. The non-monotonicity result relates to the difference in expenditures on public consumption. Provided decentralized choices yield higher levels of public expenditure, a rise in the amount of spillovers allows residents to enjoy larger gains in public consumption (and thereby utility) under decentralization relative to centralization.

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  • Koethenbuerger, Marko, 2008. "Revisiting the "Decentralization Theorem"--On the role of externalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 116-122, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:64:y:2008:i:1:p:116-122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Aslim, Erkmen Giray & Neyapti, Bilin, 2017. "Optimal fiscal decentralization: Redistribution and welfare implications," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 224-234.
    2. Lisa Grazzini & Alessandro Petretto, 2017. "Spillover Effects in a Federal Country with Vertical Tax Externalities," Public Finance Review, , vol. 45(5), pages 701-720, September.
    3. Martin Gregor & Lenka Stastna, 2012. "The decentralization tradeoff for complementary spillovers," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 16(1), pages 41-69, March.
    4. J.A. Bikker & D.E. van der Linde, 2015. "The Optimum Size of Local Public Administration," Working Papers 15-05, Utrecht School of Economics.
    5. Joan Costa-i-Font, 2012. "Fiscal Federalism and European Health System Decentralization: A Perspective," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 5, London School of Economics / European Institute.
    6. Francis Bloch & Ünal Zenginobuz, 2015. "Oates’ decentralization theorem with imperfect household mobility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 353-375, June.
    7. Myeonghwan Cho, 2013. "Externality and information asymmetry in the production of local public goods," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 9(2), pages 177-201, June.
    8. Janos Feidler & Klaas Staal, 2012. "Centralized and decentralized provision of public goods," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 73-93, March.
    9. Laura Levaggi & Rosella Levaggi & Carmine Trecroci, 2015. "Waste disposal and decentralisation: a welfare approach," Working papers 17, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.

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