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On the Incentives to Experiment in Federations

  • Christos Kotsogiannis
  • Robert Schwager

Conventional wisdom has it that policy innovation is better promoted in a federal rather than in a unitary system. Recent research, however, has provided theoretical evidence to the contrary: a multi-jurisdictional system is characterized - due to the existence of a horizontal information externality - by under-provision of policy innovation. This paper presents a simple model that introduces political competition for federal office. Under such competition political actors use the innovative policies in order to signal ability to the electorate. In the equilibrium analyzed policy innovation may occur more frequently than in a unitary system. It is thus shown that, once electoral motives are accounted for, the conventional wisdom is likely to be a valid proposition.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2005/wp-cesifo-2005-11/cesifo1_wp1585.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1585.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1585
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  1. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
  2. Kollman, Ken & Miller, John H & Page, Scott E, 2000. "Decentralization and the Search for Policy Solutions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 102-28, April.
  3. Strumpf, Koleman S, 2002. " Does Government Decentralization Increase Policy Innovation?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(2), pages 207-41.
  4. Johannes Rincke, 2005. "Neighborhood Influence and Political Change: Evidence from US School Districts," Public Economics 0511011, EconWPA.
  5. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
  6. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  7. Rincke, Johannes, 2006. "Competition in the public school sector: Evidence on strategic interaction among US school districts," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 352-369, May.
  8. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Political Uncertainty and Policy Innovation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(5), pages 779-805, December.
  9. Rincke, Johannes, 2005. "Neighborhood Influence and Political Change: Evidence from US School Districts," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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