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The Institutions of Federalism: Toward an Analytical Framework

  • Wildasin, David E.

Mature federations have relatively transparent delineations of authority among levels of government; subnational governments enjoy considerable autonomy in their expenditure, revenue, and debt policies. In other countries, problems of soft budget constraints, bailouts, and fiscal and financial instability demonstrate the difficulties of institutional design in a federation. This paper outlines an analytical framework within which interjurisdictional spillovers may create incentives for higher–level governments to intervene in the control and financing of lower–level governments (“bailouts”). This framework helps to identify directions for theoretical and empirical research that can illuminate important features of observed institutions and guide policy analysis.

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Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 57 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 247-72

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:57:y:2004:i:2:p:247-72
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  2. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1991. "The Pure Theory of Country Risk," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 391-435 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Buettner, Thiess & Wildasin, David E., 2006. "The dynamics of municipal fiscal adjustment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1115-1132, August.
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  9. Weingast, Barry R, 1995. "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, April.
  10. Franco, D. & Gokhale, J. & Guiso, L. & Kotlikoff, L.J. & Sartor, N., 1991. "Generational Accounting - The Case of Italy," Papers 18, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Dahlberg, Matz, 2003. "An Empirical Approach for Evaluating Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 2003:28, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  12. Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
  13. Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Optimal Regional Redistribution under Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 709-723, June.
  14. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1996. "China's transition to markets: market-preserving federalism, chinese style," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 149-185.
  15. von Hagen, Jurgen, 1991. "A note on the empirical effectiveness of formal fiscal restraints," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 199-210, March.
  16. Bahl, Roy W. & Wallich, Christine, 1992. "Intergovernmental fiscal relations in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 863, The World Bank.
  17. S. Bucovetsky, 1997. "Insurance and Incentive Effects of Transfers among Regions: Equity and Efficiency," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 463-483, November.
  18. Neil Bruce, 1995. "A Fiscal Federalism Analysis of Debt Policies by Sovereign Regional Governments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(s1), pages 195-206, November.
  19. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
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  22. Seitz, Helmut, 1999. "Subnational government bailouts in Germany," ZEI Working Papers B 20-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  23. Robert Inman, 1981. ""Municipal pension funding: A theory and some evidence" by Dennis Epple and Katherine Schipper," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 179-187, January.
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