IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_6055.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Depressing Dependence? Transfers and Economic Growth in the German States, 1975-2005

Author

Listed:
  • Thushyanthan Baskaran
  • Lars P. Feld
  • Sarah Necker

Abstract

Most countries pay substantial intergovernmental transfers to poor regions. Since these transfers are often paid with the aim of achieving regional convergence, they should have a positive effect on economic growth. However, it is equally possible that transfers perpetuate under-development by diminishing regional incentives to implement growth-enhancing policies. In this paper, we study empirically the effect of intergovernmental transfers on economic growth using the German federation as an institutional laboratory. Our findings, which are based on a panel dataset covering the West German States over the period 1975-2005, suggest that transfers are irrelevant or possibly even harmful for economic growth. The results of our analysis of transmission channels are consistent with the notion that transfers fail to foster growth because states use them to subsidize declining industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld & Sarah Necker, 2016. "Depressing Dependence? Transfers and Economic Growth in the German States, 1975-2005," CESifo Working Paper Series 6055, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6055
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6055.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sascha O. Becker & Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity and the Growth and Investment Effects of Regional Transfers: A Regression Discontinuity Design with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-77, November.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach & Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2013. "Creative Destruction and Fiscal Institutions: A Long-Run Case Study of Three Regions," Economic Complexity and Evolution, in: Guido Buenstorf & Uwe Cantner & Horst Hanusch & Michael Hutter & Hans-Walter Lorenz & Fritz Rahmeyer (ed.), The Two Sides of Innovation, edition 127, pages 187-207, Springer.
    3. Anke S. Kessler & Nico A. Hansen & Christian Lessmann, 2011. "Interregional Redistribution and Mobility in Federations: A Positive Approach," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1345-1378.
    4. Stephan Litschig, 2008. "Financing local development: Quasi-experimental evidence from municipalities in Brazil, 1980-1991," Economics Working Papers 1142, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2012.
    5. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
    6. Berthold, Norbert & Drews, Stefan & Thode, Eric, 2001. "Die föderale Ordnung in Deutschland - Motor oder Bremse des wirtschaftlichen Wachstums?," Discussion Paper Series 42, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    7. Francesco Caselli & Guy Michaels, 2013. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 208-238, January.
    8. Stegarescu, Dan & Büttner, Thiess & Behnisch, Alexej, 2002. "Public Sector Centralization and Productivity Growth: Reviewing the German Experience," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-03, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-251, April.
      • Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence," Papers 645, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
      • Barro, Robert J. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Scholarly Articles 3451299, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    10. Konrad B. Burchardi & Tarek A. Hassan, 2013. "The Economic Impact of Social Ties: Evidence from German Reunification," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1219-1271.
    11. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2006. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 119-144, January.
    12. Breidenbach, Philipp & Mitze, Timo & Schmidt, Christoph M, 2016. "EU Structural Funds and Regional Income Convergence - A Sobering Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 11210, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach, 2016. "Fiscal Federalism, Decentralization, And Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1445-1463, July.
    14. Buettner, Thiess, 2002. "Fiscal federalism and interstate risk sharing: empirical evidence from Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 195-202, January.
    15. Berthold, Norbert & Fricke, Holger, 2007. "Volkswirtschaftliche Auswirkungen der finanziellen Ausgleichsysteme in Deutschland," Discussion Paper Series 93, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    16. Asatryan, Zareh & Feld, Lars P., 2015. "Revisiting the link between growth and federalism: A Bayesian model averaging approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 772-781.
    17. Stansel, Dean, 2005. "Local decentralization and local economic growth: A cross-sectional examination of US metropolitan areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 55-72, January.
    18. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    19. Becker, Sascha O. & Egger, Peter H. & von Ehrlich, Maximilian, 2010. "Going NUTS: The effect of EU Structural Funds on regional performance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 578-590, October.
    20. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
    21. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769.
    22. David Dollar & Craig Burnside, 2000. "Aid, Policies, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 847-868, September.
    23. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
    24. Xie, Danyang & Zou, Heng-fu & Davoodi, Hamid, 1999. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 228-239, March.
    25. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence from a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 679-705.
    26. Berthold, Norbert & Fricke, Holger, 2005. "Föderalismus und Wachstum: Eine vernachlässigte Beziehung," Discussion Paper Series 83, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    27. William Easterly, 2003. "Can Foreign Aid Buy Growth?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 23-48, Summer.
    28. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-646, May.
    29. Bucovetsky, Sam, 1998. "Federalism, equalization and risk aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 301-328, March.
    30. Thornton, John, 2007. "Fiscal decentralization and economic growth reconsidered," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 64-70, January.
    31. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 979-1009, October.
    32. Michael Koetter & Michael Wedow, 2013. "Transfer Payments without Growth: Evidence for German Regions, 1992–2005," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(4), pages 1438-1455, July.
    33. Nazrul Islam, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-1170.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Virker regional udligning? Ny evidens fra Tyskland
      by Christian Bjørnskov in Punditokraterne on 2016-11-04 15:01:55

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bofinger, Peter & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Wieland, Volker, 2018. "Vor wichtigen wirtschaftspolitischen Weichenstellungen. Jahresgutachten 2018/19," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201819.
    2. Pablo Burriel & Panagiotis Chronis & Maximilian Freier & Sebastian Hauptmeier & Lukas Reiss & Dan Stegarescu & Stefan Van Parys, 2020. "A fiscal capacity for the euro area: lessons from existing fiscal-federal systems," Occasional Papers 2009, Banco de España.
    3. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2018. "Fiscal Federalism and Economic Performance - New Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 7250, CESifo.
    4. Raphael Corbi & Elias Papaioannou & Paolo Surico, 2019. "Regional Transfer Multipliers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(5), pages 1901-1934.
    5. Bofinger, Peter & Schnabel, Isabel & Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Wieland, Volker, 2014. "Mehr Vertrauen in Marktprozesse. Jahresgutachten 2014/15," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201415.
    6. K. Haaf & C.J.M. Kool, 2017. "Determinants of regional growth and convergence in Germany," Working Papers 17-12, Utrecht School of Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach, 2016. "Fiscal Federalism, Decentralization, And Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1445-1463, July.
    2. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld & Jan Schnellenbach, 2014. "Fiscal Federalism, Decentralization and Economic Growth: Survey and Meta-Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4985, CESifo.
    3. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2018. "Fiscal Federalism and Economic Performance - New Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 7250, CESifo.
    4. Tobias Hagen & Philipp Mohl, 2011. "Econometric Evaluation of EU Cohesion Policy: A Survey," Chapters, in: Miroslav N. Jovanović (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Integration, Volume III, chapter 16, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Lessmann, Christian & Seidel, André, 2017. "Regional inequality, convergence, and its determinants – A view from outer space," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 110-132.
    6. Carlos Usabiaga & E. Macarena Hernández-Salmerón, 2016. "Regional Growth and Convergence in Spain: Is the Decentralization Model Important?," EcoMod2016 9358, EcoMod.
    7. Massimiliano Affinito, 2011. "Convergence clubs, the euro-area rank and the relationship between banking and real convergence," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 809, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Sascha O. Becker & Peter H. Egger & Maximilian von Ehrlich, 2013. "Absorptive Capacity and the Growth and Investment Effects of Regional Transfers: A Regression Discontinuity Design with Heterogeneous Treatment Effects," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 29-77, November.
    9. Bartolini, David & Ninka, Eniel & Santolini, Raffaella, 2017. "Tax Decentralisation, Labour productivity and Employment," MPRA Paper 81070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2014. "Fiscal Decentralization - a Survey of the Empirical Literature," MPRA Paper 59889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ezcurra, Roberto & Rodriguez-Pose, Andres, 2011. "Can the economic impact of political decentralisation be measured?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio & Sempere, Jaume, 2006. "A theoretical model of nations, regions and fiscal integration," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 132-157, January.
    13. Taiwo, Kayode, 2020. "Intergovernmental Transfers and Own Revenues of Subnational Governments in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 104374, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. ?gel de la Fuente, "undated". "Convergence Across Countries And Regions: Theory And Empirics," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 447.00, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    15. Zhang, Xiaobei & Wang, Xiaojun, 2021. "Measures of human capital and the mechanics of economic growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    16. Matthew Higgins & Daniel Levy & Andrew T. Young, 2003. "Growth and Convergence across the US: Evidence from County-Level Data," Working Papers 2003-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    17. William Brock & M. Taylor, 2010. "The Green Solow model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 127-153, June.
    18. Aiyar, Shekhar & Duval, Romain & Puy, Damien & Wu, Yiqun & Zhang, Longmei, 2018. "Growth slowdowns and the middle-income trap," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 22-37.
    19. Raffaele Paci & Emanuela Marrocu, 2014. "Tourism and regional growth in Europe," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93, pages 25-50, November.
    20. Alexander B. Darku, 2021. "International trade and income convergence: Sorting out the nature of bilateral trade," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 5337-5348, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergovernmental transfers; economic growth; fiscal federalism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6055. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.