Closing the Gap: Fiscal Imbalaces and Intergovernmental Transfers in Developed Federations
This paper discusses the concepts of vertical fiscal imbalance (the fiscal gap) and horizontal fiscal imbalance (equalization) and uses several statistics to measure these concepts for eight industrially developed federations: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. Although the periods covered and the detail provided vary from country to country due to limitations in data availability, the overall coverage in this paper seems more complete and comparable than in previous studies. The paper also outlines briefly the types of intergovernmental fiscal transfers used to deal with fiscal imbalances in the eight countries under consideration. Although this account is necessarily highly condensed, given the complexity of transfer systems in most countries, the frequency with which changes are made, and the difficulty of obtaining complete information, it is nonetheless broadly accurate.
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