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Citizen control and the efficiency of local public services

Author

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  • Núria Bosch
  • Marta Espasa
  • Toni Mora

Abstract

It is generally accepted that fiscal decentralization increases citizen control over politicians, fostering accountability and increasing efficiency. We identify the socioeconomic characteristics of citizens that increase their control over local policy makers and thus generate greater efficiency in a decentralized context. We also highlight the fiscal characteristics that influence this control and efficiency. The study examines a sample of Spanish municipalities, applying a methodology based on the conventional procedure of two-stage estimation. The results provide a certain amount of empirical evidence that suggests that the strong presence of retailers and retired people favours citizen control, which fosters accountability and efficiency. A factor that facilitates this control, and therefore greater efficiency, is the presence of low opportunity costs for obtaining information regarding local public service management. We also demonstrate that a high level of taxation does not lead to greater control by citizens and that transfers generate the ‘flypaper effect’. Keywords: cost efficiency, local governments, citizen’s control, socioeconomic and fiscal variables

Suggested Citation

  • Núria Bosch & Marta Espasa & Toni Mora, 2012. "Citizen control and the efficiency of local public services," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(2), pages 248-266, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:30:y:2012:i:2:p:248-266
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    1. De Borger, Bruno & Kerstens, Kristiaan, 1996. "Cost efficiency of Belgian local governments: A comparative analysis of FDH, DEA, and econometric approaches," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 145-170, April.
    2. De Borger, B & Kerstens, K. & Moesen, W. & Vanneste, J., 1994. "Explaining Differences in Productive Efficiency: An Application to Belgian Municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 80(3-4), pages 339-358, September.
    3. M. Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Diego Prior, 2009. "Short- and long-term evaluation of efficiency and quality. An application to Spanish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(23), pages 2991-3002.
    4. Victor M. Giménez & Diego Prior, 2007. "Long- and Short-Term Cost Efficiency Frontier Evaluation: Evidence from Spanish Local Governments," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(1), pages 121-139, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jproda:v:48:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0500-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Nuria Boch Roca & Javier Suárez Pandiello, 2015. "Politics and Finance in Spanish Municipalities," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 212(1), pages 51-66, March.
    3. Francesco Aiello & Graziella Bonanno & Luigi Capristo, 2017. "Explaining Differences In Efficiency: The Case Of Local Government Literature," Working Papers 201704, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    4. Craig, Christopher A. & Allen, Myria W., 2014. "Enhanced understanding of energy ratepayers: Factors influencing perceptions of government energy efficiency subsidies and utility alternative energy use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 224-233.
    5. Cordero, José Manuel & Pedraja-Chaparro, Francisco & Pisaflores, Elsa C. & Polo, Cristina, 2016. "Efficiency assessment of Portuguese municipalities using a conditional nonparametric approach," MPRA Paper 70674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:cuf:journl:y:2017:v:18:i:1:moreno-enguix is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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