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Size versus scope: on the trade-off facing economic unions

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  • Oliver Lorz
  • Gerald Willmann

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between the size of an economic union and the degree of policy centralization. We consider a political economy setting in which elected representatives bargain over the degree of centralization within the union. In our model, strategic delegation affects the identity of the representatives, and hence the equilibrium policy outcome. We show that the relationship between the extensive and the intensive margin of centralization may be non-monotonic: Up to a certain threshold a larger size implies deeper integration, whereas beyond that threshold centralization declines with further increases in size. We also show that freezing the level of centralization and associate memberships can mitigate this trade-off. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Size versus scope: on the trade-off facing economic unions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 247-267, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:20:y:2013:i:2:p:247-267
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-012-9223-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Libman, 2015. "Words or deeds: what matters? On the role of symbolic action in political decentralization," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 801-838, November.
    2. Feder, Christophe & Kataishi, Rodrigo Ezequiel, 2017. "Decentralization in Heterogeneous Regions: A Biased Technological Change Approach," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201703, University of Turin.
    3. Marco Alderighi & Christophe Feder, 2014. "Political competition, power allocation and welfare in unitary and federal systems," Working Paper series 23_14, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    4. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2016. "The political economy of (De)centralization with complementary public goods," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 315-348, August.
    5. Feder, Christophe, 2018. "Decentralization and spillovers: A new role for transportation infrastructure," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 36-47.
    6. Alderighi, Marco & Feder, Christophe, 2020. "Institutional design, political competition and spillovers," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal federalism; Policy centralization; Political economy; D78; H77; H87;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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