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Overlapping soft budget constraints

  • Breuillé, Marie-Laure
  • Vigneault, Marianne

Our paper identifies a potential problem with decentralization at a time when its virtues are widely extolled. We show that responsibility for equalization at multi-levels within a decentralized federation creates an overlapping equalization policy that can worsen fiscal discipline. Contrary to Qian and Roland (1998), we also show in our set-up that fiscal competition among regional rescuers does not act as a commitment device to harden the local budget constraint.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 67 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 259-269

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:67:y:2010:i:3:p:259-269
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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  1. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  2. Isabelle Joumard & Per Mathis Kongsrud, 2003. "Fiscal Relations across Government Levels," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 375, OECD Publishing.
  3. David E. Wildasin, 2001. "Externalities and Bailouts: Hard and Soft Budget Constraints in Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations," Public Economics 0112002, EconWPA.
  4. Nobuo Akai & Emilson Silva, 2009. "Interregional redistribution as a cure to the soft budget syndrome in federations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 43-58, February.
  5. Thiess Buettner & David E. Wildasin, 2002. "The Dynamics of Municipal Fiscal Adjustment," CESifo Working Paper Series 649, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Weingast, Barry R., 2009. "Second generation fiscal federalism: The implications of fiscal incentives," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293, May.
  7. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
  8. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  9. Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
  10. Martin Besfamille & Ben Lockwood, 2008. "Bailouts In Federations: Is A Hard Budget Constraint Always Best?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 577-593, 05.
  11. Seitz, Helmut, 1999. "Subnational government bailouts in Germany," ZEI Working Papers B 20-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  12. Chirinko, Robert S. & Fazzari, Steven M. & Meyer, Andrew P., 1999. "How responsive is business capital formation to its user cost?: An exploration with micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-80, October.
  13. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Madies, Thierry & Taugourdeau, Emmanuelle, 2006. "Does tax competition soften regional budget constraint?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 230-236, February.
  14. Akai, Nobuo & Sato, Motohiro, 2008. "Too big or too small? A synthetic view of the commitment problem of interregional transfers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 551-559, November.
  15. Kothenburger, Marko, 2004. "Tax competition in a fiscal union with decentralized leadership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 498-513, May.
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