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Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Sub-National Government Fiscal Discipline: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries


  • Zareh Asatryan
  • Lars P. Feld
  • Benny Geys


Recent theoretical research suggests that financing sub-national governments’ expenditure out of own revenue sources is linked to more responsible budgeting, because the financial implications of spending decisions then are internalized within a jurisdiction. We test this proposition empirically on a sample of 23 OECD countries over the 1975-2000 period, and find evidence in line with the hypothesis that greater revenue decentralization (measured as sub-national governments’ share of own source tax revenues in general government tax revenue) is associated with improved sub-national government budget deficits/surpluses. This finding is cross-validated with a novel, independent dataset consisting of all 34 OECD member states from 2002 to 2008.

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  • Zareh Asatryan & Lars P. Feld & Benny Geys, 2015. "Partial Fiscal Decentralization and Sub-National Government Fiscal Discipline: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 5279, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5279

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckhard Janeba & Maximilian Todtenhaupt, 2016. "Fiscal Competition and Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 6155, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Grażyna Bukowska & Joanna Siwińska-Gorzelak, 2016. "Can fiscal decentralisation curb fiscal imbalances?," Working Papers 2016-35, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    3. David Bartolini & Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti & Raffaella Santolini, 2015. "Fiscal decentralisation in times of financial crises," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1506, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    4. Ananya Kotia & Victor Duarte Lledo, 2016. "Do Subnational Fiscal Rules Foster Fiscal Discipline? New Empirical Evidence from Europe," IMF Working Papers 16/84, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Agnieszka Kopańska, 2016. "Partial decentralization and its influence on local governments’ spending policy. An analysis of spending for teachers and other resources needed for schools," Working Papers 2016-38, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    6. Ehtisham Ahmad & Giorgio Brosio (ed.), 2015. "Handbook of Multilevel Finance," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14380.

    More about this item


    fiscal federalism; revenue autonomy; budget deficits;

    JEL classification:

    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination


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