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Citizens control and the efficiency of local public services

Author

Listed:
  • Nuria Bosch
  • Marta Espasa
  • Toni Mora

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

It is generally accepted that fiscal decentralization increases citizens control over politicians, fostering accountability and increasing efficiency. This article identifies the socioeconomic characteristics of citizens (potential voters) that increase their control over local policy-makers and thus generate greater efficiency in a decentralized context. We also highlight the fiscal characteristics of local governments 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. In the first stage we estimate the efficiency of local public services by calculating a new version of a global output indicator using the DEA technique. In the second stage, using a Tobit type estimation (censored models) and bootstrap methods, we show how the factors mentioned may influence efficiency. The results suggest that strong presence of retailers, retired people, and people entitled to vote favour citizens 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Nuria Bosch & Marta Espasa & Toni Mora, 2010. "Citizens control and the efficiency of local public services," Working Papers in Economics 247, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2010247
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:kap:jproda:v:48:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11123-017-0500-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Nuria Boch Roca & Javier Suárez Pandiello, 2015. "Politics and Finance in Spanish Municipalities," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 212(1), pages 51-66, March.
    4. repec:cuf:journl:y:2017:v:18:i:1:moreno-enguix is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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