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Government Decentralization as a Commitment

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  • Mark Gradstein

Abstract

In the past several decades, many countries, among them non-democratic, chose to decentralize their governments. Building on insights provided by the “second generation” wave of research on fiscal federalism, this paper proposes a unified model to account for this. The idea is that decentralization serves as a commitment device to ensure that ex post chose policies will reflect regional preferences, thereby boosting individual productive effort incentives. This theory may explain the decentralization process in China in 1980-1990s, as well as the fact that government decentralization is generally more prevalent in democracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Gradstein, 2014. "Government Decentralization as a Commitment," CESifo Working Paper Series 4809, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4809
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4809.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "Decentralization and the productive efficiency of government: Evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1197-1218, June.
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    3. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Persistence of Power, Elites, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 267-293, March.
    4. Bertocchi, Graziella & Spagat, Michael, 2001. "The Politics of Co-optation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 591-607, December.
    5. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    6. Mark Gradstein, 2008. "Institutional Traps And Economic Growth," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1043-1066, August.
    7. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
    8. Mark Gradstein, 2007. "Inequality, democracy and the protection of property rights," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 252-269, January.
    9. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2005. "Decentralizing antipoverty program delivery in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 675-704, April.
    10. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
    11. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.
    12. Albornoz, Facundo & Cabrales, Antonio, 2013. "Decentralization, political competition and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 103-111.
    13. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
    14. International Monetary Fund, 2001. "Fiscal Decentralization and Governance; A Cross-Country Analysis," IMF Working Papers 01/71, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    federalism; regional decentralization; non-democracies;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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