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Fiscal Decentralization, Commitment and Regional Inequality: Evidence from State-level Cross-sectional Data for the United States

Author

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  • Nobuo Akai

    () (Osaka University)

  • Masayo Hosio

    () (Otemon Gakuin University)

Abstract

Conventional approaches to fiscal decentralization suggest that decentralization lowers the power of redistribution, but recent theories argue that fiscal decentralization can work as a commitment device. The former effect is argued to cause an increase in inter-county inequality, while the latter suggests a decrease. This article first clarifies the relationship between fiscal decentralization and inter-county inequality by using cross-sectional data for the United States. Our result indicates that the achievement of autonomy by fiscal decentralization in poor (low-income) counties contributes to decreased inter-county inequality, but that this effect is not as large as the dominating adverse effect fiscal decentralization has on rich (highincome) counties.

Suggested Citation

  • Nobuo Akai & Masayo Hosio, 2009. "Fiscal Decentralization, Commitment and Regional Inequality: Evidence from State-level Cross-sectional Data for the United States," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 18(1), pages 113-129, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:jid:journl:y:2009:v:18:i:1:p:113-129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "Federalism as a Commitment to Reserving Market Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 83-92, Fall.
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    4. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
    5. Richard Morrill, 2000. "Geographic variation in change in income inequality among US states, 1970-1990," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 34(1), pages 109-130.
    6. Dapeng Hu & Masahisa Fujita, 2001. "Regional disparity in China 1985-1994: The effects of globalization and economic liberalization," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 35(1), pages 3-37.
    7. Akai, Nobuo & Sakata, Masayo, 2002. "Fiscal decentralization contributes to economic growth: evidence from state-level cross-section data for the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 93-108, July.
    8. Shankar, Raja & Shah, Anwar, 2003. "Bridging the Economic Divide Within Countries: A Scorecard on the Performance of Regional Policies in Reducing Regional Income Disparities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1421-1441, August.
    9. Partridge, Mark D. & Rickman, Dan S. & Levernier, William, 1996. "Trends in U.S. income inequality: Evidence from a panel of states," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 17-37.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Lessmann, 2012. "Regional inequality and decentralization: an empirical analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(6), pages 1363-1388, June.
    2. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2014. "Fiscal Decentralization - a Survey of the Empirical Literature," MPRA Paper 59889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Christian Lessmann, 2009. "Fiscal Decentralization and Regional Disparity: Evidence from Cross-Section and Panel Data," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 41(10), pages 2455-2473, October.
    4. Andreas P. Kyriacou & Leonel Muinelo-Gallo & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2015. "Fiscal decentralization and regional disparities: The importance of good governance," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(1), pages 89-107, March.
    5. Song, Yang, 2013. "Rising Chinese regional income inequality: The role of fiscal decentralization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 294-309.
    6. Ehtisham Ahmad & Giorgio Brosio & Vito Tanzi, 2008. "Local Service Provision in Selected OECD Countries; Do Decentralized Operations Work Better?," IMF Working Papers 08/67, International Monetary Fund.
    7. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9416-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Vu, Binh & Nguyen, Tom & Smith, Christine & Nghiem, Son, 2015. "Vietnam's responses to provincial economic disparities through central-provincial government financial relations," MPRA Paper 67705, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2014.
    9. Aleh Mazol, 2015. "Local self-governance in the Republic of Belarus," BEROC Policy Paper Series 22, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC).
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal decentralization; inter-county inequality; commitment;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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