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The Optimal Decentralisation of Government Activity: Normative Recommendations for the European Constitution

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  • Fritz Breuss

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  • Markus Eller

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Abstract

This article surveys the research on the efficient assignment of policy tasks to different levels of government and applies the results on the delimitation of competencies within the EU. A precise derivation of an optimal degree of decentralisation is not possible on purely theoretical grounds, it has to be determined case-by-case. Systematic evidence on direct relationships between economic performance and fiscal decentralisation is both scarce and ambiguous. Comparing the actual and prospective delimitation of EU-competencies with the normative recommendations, remarkable discrepancies arise in the fields of agriculture and defence. The establishment of a flexible assignment scheme is an undeniable necessity in order to guarantee reversibility and to cope efficiently with changing conditions. In this respect, the European Convention has delivered insufficient results in its final draft Treaty as of July 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Fritz Breuss & Markus Eller, 2004. "The Optimal Decentralisation of Government Activity: Normative Recommendations for the European Constitution," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 27-76, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:15:y:2004:i:1:p:27-76
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    Cited by:

    1. Fritz Breuss & Markus Eller, 2004. "Decentralising the public sector: Fiscal Decentralisation and Economic Growth: Is there Really a Link?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(1), pages 3-9, October.
    2. Petrick, Martin, 2008. "Theoretical and methodological topics in the institutional economics of European agriculture. With applications to farm organisation and rural credit arrangements," Studies on the Agricultural and Food Sector in Transition Economies, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), volume 45, number 92318.
    3. Paul Hallwood & Ronald MacDonald, 2008. "A Review of the Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on Economic Efficiency: With Comments on Tax Devolution to Scotland," Working papers 2008-46, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:ces:ifodic:v:2:y:2004:i:1:p:14567688 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Biesenbender, Jan, 2011. "The Dynamics of Treaty Change – Measuring the Distribution of Power in the European Union," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 15, October.
    6. Jerome Schafer, 2014. "European Commission Officials' Policy Attitudes," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 911-927, July.
    7. Marco Montanari, 2006. "Between European integration and regional autonomy: the case of Italy from an economic perspective," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 277-301, December.
    8. Fritz Breuss, 2009. "Lack of Cyclical Convergence Puts Euro Area at Risk," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 82(2), pages 125-138, February.
    9. Fritz Breuss, 2009. "Lacking "Europeanisation" of National Business Cycles as a Risk for the Euro Area," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 14(2), pages 91-104, June.
    10. Sinabell, Franz & Schmid, Erwin & Pitlik, Hans, 2009. "Farm Payments in the EU – their Distribution and Justification," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51800, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    11. Schmidtchen, Dieter, 2004. "Demokratiedefizit in Europa? Über Dichtung und Wahrheit in der europäischen Verfassungsdebatte," CSLE Discussion Paper Series 2004-08, Saarland University, CSLE - Center for the Study of Law and Economics.
    12. Philipp Paulus, 2004. "The fiscal stability impact of monetary unions - looking beneath the Stability Pact debate," Otto-Wolff-Institut Discussion Paper Series 05/2004, Otto-Wolff-Institut für Wirtschaftsordnung, Köln, Deutschland.
    13. Hans Pitlik, 2007. "Spending Priorities in the EU Budget 2007–2013: The Perspective of Fiscal Federalism," Austrian Economic Quarterly, WIFO, vol. 12(1), pages 11-24, March.

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