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The political economy of policy centralization: direct versus representative democracy

  • Redoano, Michela
  • Scharf, Kimberly A.

This paper analyses policy centralization outcomes in a two-jurisdiction model of public good provision choices with heterogeneous policy preferences and inter-jurisdictional policy spillovers under two alternative political procedures: direct referendum and representative democracy. We show that policy centralization is more likely to occur if the choice to centralize is made by elected policymakers rather than by referendum. In these situations, centralized policies converge to the preferred level of the jurisdiction that least favours centralization, rather than to a compromise between the two jurisdictions’ preferred levels.

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

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (March)
Pages: 799-817

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:3-4:p:799-817
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  4. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1995. "Delegation in a general equilibrium model of customs unions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 319-333, February.
  5. Dhillon, Amrita & Perroni, Carlo & Scharf, Kimberley A., 1999. "Implementing tax coordination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 243-268, May.
  6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Does centralization increase the size of government?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 765-773, April.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  8. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L & Kalai, Ehud, 1991. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 551-59, August.
  9. Charles Blankart, 2000. "The Process of Government Centralization: A Constitutional View," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 27-39, March.
  10. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1991. "Delegation Games in Customs Unions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 391-97, April.
  11. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1990. "The Politics of 1992: Fiscal Policy and European Integration," NBER Working Papers 3460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Lars P. Feld, 2001. "On Government Centralization and Budget Referendums: Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 615, CESifo Group Munich.
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