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Is It Is Or Is It Ain'T My Obligation? Regional Debt In A Fiscal Federation

  • Russell Cooper
  • Hubert Kempf
  • Dan Peled

This article studies the repayment of regional debt in a multiregion economy with a central authority: Who pays the obligation issued by a region? With commitment, the central government will use its economy-wide taxation power in support of its objective to smooth distortionary taxes and consumption across regions. Absent commitment, this tool of the central government may be exploited to induce it to bail out regional government deficits. We characterize the conditions under which bailouts occur and their welfare implications. In particular, we show when the gains from a federation may outweigh the welfare costs of a bailout. We use these insights to comment on actual fiscal relations in three quite different federations: the United States, the European Union, and Argentina. Copyright � (2008) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2008.00519.x
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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 49 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 1469-1504

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:49:y:2008:i:4:p:1469-1504
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  1. Galí, Jordi & Perotti, Roberto, 2003. "Fiscal Policy and Monetary Integration in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 3933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Fabio Canova & Evi Pappa, 2004. "Does it cost to be virtuous? The macroeconomic effects of fiscal constraints," Economics Working Papers 926, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2004.
  3. Russell Cooper & Hubert Kempf, 2002. "Overturning Mundell: fiscal policy in a monetary union," Staff Report 311, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Sebastian M. Saiegh & Mariano Tommasi, 1999. "Why is Argentina’s Fiscal Federalism so Inefficient? Entering the Labyrinth," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 169-209, May.
  5. Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, Patrick J., 2007. "On the need for fiscal constraints in a monetary union," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2399-2408, November.
  6. Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2004. "Intergovernmental transfers and fiscal behavior insurance versus aggregate discipline," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 149-170, January.
  7. Alfredo Cuevas, 2003. "Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in Argentina," IMF Working Papers 03/90, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Carlos E. Zarazaga, 1993. "Hyperinflations and moral hazard in the appropriation of seigniorage," Working Papers 93-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  9. Russell W. Cooper & Hubert Kempf., 2001. "Dollarization and the conquest of hyperinflation in divided societies," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-12.
  10. James M. Poterba, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Policy in the U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 5449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
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