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Institutional Design and Implicit Incentives in Bolivia's Decentralization Model

Author

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  • Barja Daza, Gover

    (MPD Universidad Católica Boliviana "San Pablo")

  • Villarroel Böhrt, Sergio

    (MPD Universidad Católica Boliviana "San Pablo")

  • Zavaleta Castellón, David

    (MPD Universidad Católica Boliviana "San Pablo")

Abstract

The second generation fiscal federalism (sGff) approach is used as a reference to analyze the political and fiscal institutional design of Bolivia’s decentralization model and its evolution. subnational public finance data up to 2008 is used to verify that decentralization of expenditure was higher than that of revenue, establishing a context of vertical fiscal imbalance that increased due to growing fiscal transfers during the positive external shock (boom) period. consequently, the subnational fiscal surplus was not a result of internal efficiency but of excess revenues from such transfers. Panel models were estimated to identify and assess the implicit incentives embedded in fiscal institutions of the decentralization model. findings at the municipal level are: i) misalignment of local spending with local interests due to dominance of transfers over own revenue (dominance of central government development policies); ii) incentive to spend transfers faster than own revenue (flypaper effect); iii) greater marginal contribution of own revenue to positive fiscal balances compared to transfers, thus introducing the seed for a soft budget constraint but hidden by the fiscal surplus; iv) disincentive to generate own revenue (tax and non-tax) due to the size and growth of transfers (disincentive to the culture of contributing to own revenue). findings at the prefecturall level are: i) misalignment with regional interests given the dominance of transfers over own revenue due to absolute lack of tax powers (until 2009); ii) high tendency to a soft budget constraint and, eventually, also fiscal bail-out, hidden by the fiscal surplus; iii) in only two departments collection of national-level taxes were higher, compared to transfers received in the same departments; iv) disincentive to pay the VAt (national-level tax) due to higher royalty transfers received, an effect not extended to other national-level taxes; v) high dependence from hydrocarbon-based transfers, and fiscal risk when this natural resource declines (both in volume and prices) due to volatility of international oil prices. Also, as a result of the decentralization model a positive and significant impact was found on education-coverage indicators, an important development objective of the national government.

Suggested Citation

  • Barja Daza, Gover & Villarroel Böhrt, Sergio & Zavaleta Castellón, David, 2013. "Institutional Design and Implicit Incentives in Bolivia's Decentralization Model," Revista Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Economico, Instituto de Investigaciones Socio-Económicas (IISEC), Universidad Católica Boliviana, issue 19, pages 137-211, Mayo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:revlde:1906
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Baja Daza, Gover & Fernández Tellería, Bernardo X. & Zavaleta Castellón, David, 2014. "Diminishing commodity prices and capital flight in a dutch disease and resource curse environment: The case of Bolivia," MPRA Paper 75702, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    second generation fiscal federalism; Panel models; Bolivia;

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • 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
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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