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Political Bargaining in a Federation: Buchanan meets Coase

  • Gradstein, Mark

In recent decades, the issues of federalism and political integration have gained prominence in public debate as well as in the academic realm. A frequently made point is that allowing free secession may protect the minority’s interests, thus providing it with an incentive to enter the federation. This Paper explicitly considers the political process in the federation arguing that the option to secede may distort the political choices made by the individual regions to improve their bargaining positions. As a result, the allocation of resources in the federation could well end up being inefficient and unattractive for the minority region. In contrast, limiting the secession possibilities by requiring the consent of a majority of voters through a regional referendum, rather than leaving it to the discretion of the legislature, restores efficiency.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4188.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4188
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  1. Casella, Alessandra, 1992. "Participation in a Currency Union," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 847-63, September.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  3. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  4. Buchanan, James M & Faith, Roger L, 1987. "Secession and the Limits of Taxation: Toward a Theory of Internal Exit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1023-31, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
  7. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Warneryd, Karl, 1998. "Distributional conflict and jurisdictional organization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 435-450, September.
  9. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
  10. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
  11. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
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