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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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File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/files/2015/03/ispwp0202.pdf
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Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0202.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0202
Contact details of provider: Phone: 404-413-0235
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Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html

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  1. M G Rao & A Das-Gupta, 1995. "Intergovernmental transfers and poverty alleviation," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 13(1), pages 1-23, February.
  2. Walter Hettich & Stanley L. Winer, 1986. "Vertical Imbalance in the Fiscal Systems of Federal States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 745-65, November.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521027922 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Therese J. McGuire, 2002. "Fiscal decentralization in Spain: An asymmetric transition to democracy," Economics Working Papers 866, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  5. Shankar, Raja & Shah, Anwar, 2003. "Bridging the Economic Divide Within Countries: A Scorecard on the Performance of Regional Policies in Reducing Regional Income Disparities," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 1421-1441, August.
  6. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
  7. Richard M Bird & Fran�ois Vaillancourt, 2001. "Fiscal arrangements for maintaining an effective state in Canada," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 19(2), pages 163-187, April.
  8. Richard A. Musgrave, 1961. "Approaches to a Fiscal Theory of Political Federalism," NBER Chapters, in: Public Finances: Needs, Sources, and Utilization, pages 97-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Antoni Castells, 2001. "The role of intergovernmental finance in achieving diversity and cohesion: the case of Spain," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 19(2), pages 189-206, April.
  10. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June.
  11. Bernd Huber & Christian Baretti & Karl Lichtblau, 2000. "A Tax on Tax Revenue. The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 333, CESifo Group Munich.
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