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The Impact of Referendums on the Centralisation of Public Goods Provision: A Political Economy Approach

  • Jan Schnellenbach
  • Lars P. Feld
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger

The paper compares decision-making on the centralisation of public goods provision in the presence of regional externalities under representative and direct democratic institutions. A model with two regions, two public goods and regional spillovers is developed in which uncertainty over the true preferences of candidates makes strategic delegation impossible. Instead, it is shown that the existence of rent extraction by delegates alone suffices to make cooperative centralisation more likely through representative democracy. In the non-cooperative case, the more extensive possibilities for institutional design under representative democracy increase the likelihood of centralisation. Direct democracy may thus be interpreted as a federalism-preserving institution.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2006/wp-cesifo-2006-09/cesifo1_wp1803.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1803.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1803
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  1. Redoano, Michela & Scharf, Kimberley, 2002. "The Political Economy of Policy Centralization: Direct Versus Representative Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 3631, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Thomas Gilligan & John Matsusaka, 2006. "Public choice principles of redistricting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 381-398, December.
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  4. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-30, March.
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  6. R Dur & H.J. Roelfsema, 2004. "Why Does Centralisation Fail to Internalise Policy Externalities?," Working Papers 04-09, Utrecht School of Economics.
  7. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1999. " Structural Constraints on Partisan Bias under the Efficient Gerrymander," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 65-84, July.
  8. Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2004. "On the Endogenous Allocation of Decision Powers in Federal Structures," Kiel Working Papers 1209, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2003. "International Unions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2001, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Davis, Otto A & DeGroot, Morris H & Hinich, Melvin J, 1972. "Social Preference Orderings and Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(1), pages 147-57, January.
  11. Matsusaka, John G & McCarty, Nolan M, 2001. "Political Resource Allocation: Benefits and Costs of Voter Initiatives," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 413-48, October.
  12. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  13. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "Federalism as a Commitment to Preserving Market Incentives," Working Papers 97042, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  14. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
  16. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
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