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Accountability and fiscal equalization

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  • Kotsogiannis, Christos
  • Schwager, Robert

Abstract

A common feature of multi-jurisdictional systems is equalization programs. The implementation of such programs, that is based on some measurement of sub-national fiscal capacity and effort, is particularly complex. Within a political economy model, this paper analyzes the impact of such systems on accountability, identifying a positive and a negative effect. The positive effect arises because with equalized fiscal resources, a consequence of equalization, citizens attach more importance to any remaining variation in public good supplies and so punish rent-taking more severely. This induces politicians to restrain themselves and so accountability improves. The negative effect arises because the complexity of such programs reduces the informational content of observed public good supplies. This introduces a perverse fiscal incentive that reduces accountability. Thus, the overall impact of equalization programs on accountability depends on the balance of these effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Kotsogiannis, Christos & Schwager, Robert, 2008. "Accountability and fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2336-2349, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:12:p:2336-2349
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yasuyuki Nishigaki & Hideya Kato, 2016. "Yardstick Competition and Tax Competition -Intergovernmental Relations and Efficiency of Public Goods-," Proceedings of Economics and Finance Conferences 3205732, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    2. Massimo Bordignon, 2015. "Exit and Voice: Yardstick Versus Fiscal Competition Across Governments," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 1(1), pages 117-137, March.
    3. Di Liddo, Giuseppe & Giuranno, Michele G., 2016. "Asymmetric yardstick competition and municipal cooperation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 64-66.
    4. Ross Hickey, 2015. "Intergovernmental transfers and re-election concerned politicians," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 331-351, November.
    5. Pierre Salmon, 2013. "Horizontal competition in multilevel governmental settings," Working Papers hal-00830876, HAL.
    6. Axel Dreher & Kai Gehring & Christos Kotsogiannis & Silvia Marchesi, 2013. "Information transmission within federal fiscal architectures: Theory and evidence," Working Papers 253, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2013.
    7. Bruns, Christian & Himmler, Oliver, 2014. "A Theory of Political Accountability and Journalism," MPRA Paper 59286, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Thiess Büttner & Petra Enß & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla & Robert Schwager & Christiane Starbatty & Wiebke Webering, 2009. "Der kommunale Finanzausgleich in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern : langfristige Entwicklung und Reformperspektiven ; Teil II: Der horizontale Finanzausgleich ; Gutachten im Auftrag des Innenministeriums des La," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 46, October.
    9. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9416-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sergio Beraldo & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2012. "Fiscal Decentralization In Weak Institutional Environments," Post-Print halshs-00706970, HAL.
    11. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9415-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Allers, Maarten A., 2012. "Yardstick competition, fiscal disparities, and equalization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 4-6.
    13. Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Alfred M. Wu, 2017. "Fiscal decentralization, equalization, and intra-provincial inequality in China," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(2), pages 248-281, April.

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