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Fiscal decentralisation, efficiency, and growth

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  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
  • Sylvia A R Tijmstra
  • Adala Bwire

Abstract

Much of the recent worldwide trend towards devolution has been driven by the belief that fiscal decentralisation is likely to have a positive effect on government efficiency and economic growth. It is generally assumed that the transfer of powers and resources to lower tiers of government allows for a better matching of public policies to local needs and thus for a better allocation of resources. These factors, in turn, are expected to lead to an improvement in regional economic performance, if subnational authorities shift resources from current to capital expenditures in search of a better response to local needs. In this paper we test these assumptions empirically by analysing the evolution of subnational expenditure categories and regional growth in Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, and the USA. We find that, contrary to expectations, decentralisation has coincided in the sample countries with a relative increase in current expenditures at the expense of capital expenditures, which has been associated with lower levels of economic growth in countries where devolution has been driven from above (India and Mexico), but not in Spain, where it has been driven from below. We hypothesise that the differences in legitimacy between the central or federal government and subnational governments in top-down and bottom-up processes of devolution may be at the origin of the diverse capacity to deliver greater allocative and productive efficiency and, eventually, greater economic growth by devolved governments.

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  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Sylvia A R Tijmstra & Adala Bwire, 2009. "Fiscal decentralisation, efficiency, and growth," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(9), pages 2041-2062, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:41:y:2009:i:9:p:2041-2062
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    Cited by:

    1. Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2011. "Decentralization, Happiness and the Perception of Institutions," IZA Discussion Papers 5647, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Anping Chen & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2013. "The national and regional effects of fiscal decentralisation in China," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(3), pages 731-760, December.
    3. Andy Pike & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & John Tomaney & Gianpiero Torrisi & Vassilis Tselios, 2012. "In search of the ‘economic dividend’ of devolution: spatial disparities, spatial economic policy, and decentralisation in the UK," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(1), pages 10-28, February.
    4. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Roberto Ezcurra, 2011. "Is fiscal decentralization harmful for economic growth? Evidence from the OECD countries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 619-643, July.
    5. Roberto Ezcurra & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2011. "Can the economic impact of political decentralisation be measured?," Working Papers 2011-02, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
    6. Yuanshuo Xu & Mildred E. Warner, 2015. "Understanding employment growth in the recession: the geographic diversity of state rescaling," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 8(2), pages 359-377.
    7. Vassilis Monastiriotis & Yiannis Psycharis, 2011. "Without purpose and strategy? A spatio-functional analysis of the regional allocation of public investment in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 49, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    8. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:17:y:2017:i:6:p:1149-1178. is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2016. "A Comprehensive Analysis of Expenditure Decentralization and of the Composition of Local Public Spending," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(1), pages 93-109, January.
    10. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2016:i:6:p:95-114 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Sacchi, Agnese & Salotti, Simone, 2014. "The asymmetric nature of fiscal decentralization: theory and practice," MPRA Paper 54506, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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