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Electoral Competition as a Determinant of Fiscal Decentralization

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  • Mario Jametti
  • Marcelin Joanis

Abstract

Fiscal decentralization is high on the agenda in policy fora. This paper empirically investigates the underlying causes of fiscal decentralization, based on the predictions of a simple political economy model. We argue that the likeliness that a central government engages in devolution of powers depends in important ways on the political forces that it faces, the theory’s main insight being that the central government’s electoral strength should, all else being equal, decrease that government’s share of spending. Consistent with the model’s predictions, empirical results from a panel of democracies support the relevance of political factors as determinants of fiscal decentralization. The relationship between central government electoral strength and both expenditure and revenue centralization emerges as negative and non-linear.

Suggested Citation

  • Mario Jametti & Marcelin Joanis, 2011. "Electoral Competition as a Determinant of Fiscal Decentralization," CESifo Working Paper Series 3574, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3574
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Mario Jametti & Marius Brülhart, 2007. "Does Tax Competition Tame the Leviathan?," Working Papers 2007_7, York University, Department of Economics.
    2. Marcelin Joanis, 2011. "The road to power: partisan loyalty and the centralized provision of local infrastructure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 117-143, January.
    3. Enikolopov, Ruben & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Decentralization and political institutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2261-2290, December.
    4. Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "Intertwined Federalism: Accountability Problems under Partial Decentralization," Cahiers de recherche 08-22, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    5. Knight, Brian, 2004. "Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 845-866, March.
    6. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
    7. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgaessner & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2010. "Decentralized Taxation and the Size of Government: Evidence from Swiss State and Local Governments," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 27-48, July.
    8. Cadot, Olivier & Roller, Lars-Hendrik & Stephan, Andreas, 2006. "Contribution to productivity or pork barrel? The two faces of infrastructure investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1133-1153, August.
    9. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
    10. Hansjörg Blöchliger & David King, 2006. "Fiscal Autonomy of Sub-Central Governments," OECD Working Papers on Fiscal Federalism 2, OECD Publishing.
    11. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Libman, 2015. "Words or deeds: what matters? On the role of symbolic action in political decentralization," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 801-838, November.
    2. repec:eee:rujoec:v:3:y:2017:i:4:p:425-444 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mario Jametti & Marcelin Joanis, 2014. "Elections and de facto Expenditure Decentralization in Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 2014s-28, CIRANO.
    4. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.
    5. Lars-Erik Borge & Jan K. Brueckner & Jorn Rattso, 2012. "Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Public-Sector Heterogeneity: Theory and Evidence from Norway," CESifo Working Paper Series 3954, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Borge, Lars-Erik & Brueckner, Jan K. & Rattsø, Jorn, 2014. "Partial fiscal decentralization and demand responsiveness of the local public sector: Theory and evidence from Norway," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 153-163.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal decentralization; fiscal federalism; vertical interactions; partial decentralization; elections;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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