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The Political Economy of Policy Centralization: Direct Versus Representative Democracy

  • Michela Redoano
  • Kimberley Ann Scharf

This paper examines policy centralization outcomes in a two-jurisdiction, political economy model of public good provision choices with heterogeneous policy preferences and interjurisdictional policy spillovers, under alternative democratic choice procedures, namely, direct democracy and representative democracy. We show that policy centralization is more likely to occur if the choice to centralize is made by elected policymakers rather than by referendum. The reason for this result is that delegation of the harmonization choice to elected policymakers can effectively act as a policy commitment device by a pro-centralization jurisdiction and induce a reluctant partner to cooperate. In these situations, policy centralization will result in policies converging towards the choice preferred by the reluctant partner, rather than in a dilution of policy preferences.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2001/wp-cesifo-2001-10/cesifo_wp602.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 602.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_602
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  1. Dhillon, A. & Perroni, C. & Scharf, K.A., 1997. "Implementing Tax Coordination," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 501, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Fershtman, Chaim & Judd, Kenneth L & Kalai, Ehud, 1991. "Observable Contracts: Strategic Delegation and Cooperation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(3), pages 551-59, August.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: a Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2495, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Does centralization increase the size of government?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 765-773, April.
  6. Charles Blankart, 2000. "The Process of Government Centralization: A Constitutional View," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 27-39, March.
  7. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "The Politics of 1992: Fiscal Policy and European Integration," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 689-701, October.
  9. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  10. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1991. "Delegation Games in Customs Unions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 391-97, April.
  11. Gatsios, Konstantine & Karp, Larry, 1995. "Delegation in a general equilibrium model of customs unions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 319-333, February.
  12. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Lars P. Feld, 2001. "On Government Centralization and Budget Referendums: Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 615, CESifo Group Munich.
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