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Fiscal Federalism and Electoral Accountability

  • Toke Aidt
  • Jayasri Dutta

We study the efficient allocation of spending and taxation authority in a federation in which federal politicians are exposed to electoral uncertainty. We show that centralization may, but need not, result in a loss of electoral accountability. We identify an important asymmetry between positive and negative externalities and show that centralization may not be efficient in economies with positive externalities even when regions are identical and centralization does not entail a loss of accountability. We also show that decentralization can only Pareto dominate centralization in economies with negative externalities.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3022.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3022
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  1. Seabright, Paul, 1994. "Accountability and Decentralization in Government: An Incomplete Contracts Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  13. HINDRIKS, Jean & LOCKWOOD, Ben, 2005. "Decentralization and electoral accountability: incentives, separation, and voter welfare," CORE Discussion Papers 2005046, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Christoph Lülfesmann, 2000. "Central Governance or Subsidiarity: A Property-Rights Approach to Federalism," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse5_2001, University of Bonn, Germany.
  15. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  16. Cremer, J. & Palfrey, T.R., 1994. "In or Out?: Centralization by Majority Vote," Papers 94.335, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  17. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
  18. Kessler, Anke & Luelfesmann, Christoph & Myers, Gordon M, 2009. "The Architecture of Federations: Constitutions, Bargaining, and Moral Hazard," CEPR Discussion Papers 7244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2000. "Federalism, distributive politics and representative democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 105-122, 07.
  20. Lockwood, Ben, 2002. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 313-37, April.
  21. Roemer, John E., 1998. "Why the poor do not expropriate the rich: an old argument in new garb," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 399-424, December.
  22. Crémer, Jacques & Palfrey, Thomas, 2000. "Federal Mandates by Popular Demand," IDEI Working Papers 120, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2001.
  23. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  24. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  25. DHILLON, Amrita & PERALTA, Susana, . "Economic theories of voter turnout," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1563, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  26. Bordignon, Massimo & Colombo, Luca & Galmarini, Umberto, 2008. "Fiscal federalism and lobbying," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2288-2301, December.
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