IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Income inequality, decentralisation, and regional development in Western Europe


  • Vassilis Tselios
  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose
  • Andy Pike
  • John Tomaney
  • Gianpiero Torrisi


This paper deals with the relationship between decentralisation, regional economic development, and income inequality within regions. Using multiplicative interaction models and regionally aggregated microeconomic data for more than 100 000 individuals in the European Union (EU), it addresses two main questions. First, whether fiscal and political decentralisation in Western Europe has an effect on within-regional interpersonal inequality. Second, whether this potential relationship is mediated by the level of economic development of the region. The results of the analysis show that greater fiscal decentralisation is associated with lower interpersonal income inequality, but, as regional income rises, further decentralisation is connected to a lower decrease in inequality. This finding is robust to the measurement and definition of income inequality, as well as to the weighting of the spatial units by their population size. Keywords: income inequality, income per capita, fiscal and political decentralisation, interaction, regions, Europe

Suggested Citation

  • Vassilis Tselios & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Andy Pike & John Tomaney & Gianpiero Torrisi, 2012. "Income inequality, decentralisation, and regional development in Western Europe," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(6), pages 1278-1301, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:6:p:1278-1301

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: abstract
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    File URL:
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: Fulltext access restricted to subscribers, see for details

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Iimi, Atsushi, 2005. "Decentralization and economic growth revisited: an empirical note," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 449-461, May.
    2. Neyapti, Bilin, 2006. "Revenue decentralization and income distribution," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 409-416, September.
    3. Florax, Raymond J. G. M. & Folmer, Hendrik & Rey, Sergio J., 2003. "Specification searches in spatial econometrics: the relevance of Hendry's methodology," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 557-579, September.
    4. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-959, December.
    5. Era Dabla-Norris, 2006. "The Challenge of Fiscal Decentralisation in Transition Countries," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 48(1), pages 100-131, March.
    6. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1597-1616, September.
    7. Anselin, Luc & Moreno, Rosina, 2003. "Properties of tests for spatial error components," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 595-618, September.
    8. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, January.
    9. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 2001. "The growth impact of intersectoral and intergovernmental allocation of public expenditure: With applications to China and India," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 58-81.
    10. Christian Lessmann, 2009. "Fiscal decentralization and regional disparity: evidence from cross-section and panel data," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(10), pages 2455-2473, October.
    11. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    12. Andreas P Kyriacou & Oriol Roca-Sagalés, 2011. "Fiscal and Political Decentralization and Government Quality," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 29(2), pages 204-223, April.
    13. Krugman, Paul & Elizondo, Raul Livas, 1996. "Trade policy and the Third World metropolis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 137-150, April.
    14. T. S. Breusch & A. R. Pagan, 1980. "The Lagrange Multiplier Test and its Applications to Model Specification in Econometrics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 239-253.
    15. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    16. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:jns:jbstat:v:237:y:2017:i:3:p:225-273:n:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:taf:regstd:v:50:y:2016:i:7:p:1097-1112 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stossberg Sibylle & Blöchliger Hansjörg, 2017. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 237(3), pages 225-273, June.
    4. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Yannis Psycharis & Vassilis Tselios, 2012. "Public investment and regional growth and convergence: Evidence from Greece," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(3), pages 543-568, August.
    5. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2015. "Decentralization and the Welfare State: What Do Citizens Perceive?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(2), pages 411-435, January.
    6. Tarkan Cavusoglu & Oguzhan Dincer, 2015. "Does decentralization reduce income inequality? Only in rich states," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 285-306, July.
    7. Caroline-Antonia Goerl & Mike Seiferling, 2014. "Income Inequality, Fiscal Decentralization and Transfer Dependency," IMF Working Papers 14/64, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Minas, Renate & Bäckman, Olof & Jakobsen, Vibeke & Korpi, Tomas & Lorentzen, Thomas & Kauppinen, Timo, 2014. "Rescaling inequality? Welfare reform and local variation in social assistance payments," Working Paper Series 1/2014, Stockholm University, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
    9. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:1095-1129 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    11. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    12. Floriana Cerniglia & Riccarda Longaretti, 2013. "Federalism, education-related public good and growth when agents are heterogeneous," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 271-301, July.
    13. Michele Cincera & Antonio Estache & Wolf Alexander, 2012. "Would Less Fiscal Decentralization Reduce Public Sector Size across Sectors in Europe ?," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2012-028, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Hernandez-Trillo, Fausto, 2016. "Poverty Alleviation in Federal Systems: The Case of México," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 204-214.
    15. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Yannis Psycharis & Vassilis Tselios, 2016. "Politics and Investment: Examining the Territorial Allocation of Public Investment in Greece," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(7), pages 1097-1112, July.
    16. Benos, Christos & Angelopoulou, Ioanna & Metaxas, Theodore, 2017. "“Decentralization” of income per capita and its relationship to administrative decentralization in the context of European Union members," MPRA Paper 78777, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Horváth, Gyula & Lóránd, Balázs, 2012. "Decentralizáció és gazdasági fejlődés. Az olasz példa
      [Decentralization and economic development. The case of Italy]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(12), pages 1273-1298.
    18. Yasna Cortés Garriga & Dusan Paredes Araya, 2013. "The Common Municipal Fund: What is the role in the convergence of local incomes?," Documentos de Trabajo en Economia y Ciencia Regional 45, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2013.
    19. M A B Siddique & Heru Wibowo & Yanrui Wu, 2014. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Inequality in Indonesia: 1999-2008," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 14-22, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    20. Makreshanska, Suzana & Petrevski, Goran, 2016. "Decentralization, fiscal transfers and income inequality in Central and Eastern European countries," MPRA Paper 82181, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2017.
    21. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:781-802 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Jale Tosun, 2014. "Absorption of Regional Funds: A Comparative Analysis," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 371-387, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:6:p:1278-1301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Neil Hammond). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.