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Russian Fiscal Federalism: Impact of Political and Fiscal (De)centralization

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  • Alexeev, Michael
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

The extent of political and fiscal centralization in Russia has experienced dramatic changes since the end of the Soviet era. The heavily centralized, both politically and economically, federal structures became dysfunctional and unstable until the introduction of the Budget and Tax Codes over the last decade induced a relative clarity to revenue assignments and expenditure and management responsibilities of different levels of government. While the creation of federal districts and the elimination of elections of regional governors in 2005 have brought a substantial rise of political centralization, the reforms had an ambiguous effect on fiscal centralization and fiscal independence of the regions, the estimation of which is addressed in this paper. We use an updated and extensive dataset and apply a novel estimation technique by evaluating the response of regional government’s expenditures to changes in the size of the GRP (gross regional product) and to changes in the region’s tax collections. While the results related to regional shares of tax revenues and expenditures are somewhat ambiguous, the examination of marginal fiscal incentives suggests an increase in fiscal centralization in Russia over the last decade. Our investigation also indicates that, contrary to Treisman’s (2000) conjecture, no decline in the variability of tax revenues had taken place in the last decade. We also show that the recent variability of GRP has been smaller than for tax revenues but greater than for budget expenditures, which stresses the effectiveness of budget equalization policies of the central government. Finally, we briefly addressed the issue of intra-regional fiscal relations, which is of crucial importance for political and economic progress of the country.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexeev, Michael & Weber, Shlomo, 2013. "Russian Fiscal Federalism: Impact of Political and Fiscal (De)centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 9356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9356
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
    2. Migara O. De Silva & Galina Kurlyandskaya & Elena Andreeva & Natalia Golovanova, 2009. "Intergovernmental Reforms in the Russian Federation : One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2668, June.
    3. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & Timofeev, Andrey, 2008. "Regional-local dimension of Russia's fiscal equalization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 157-176, March.
    4. Alexeev, Michael & Kurlyandskaya, Galina, 2003. "Fiscal federalism and incentives in a Russian region," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 20-33, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexeev, Michael & Chernyavskiy, Andrey, 2018. "A tale of two crises: Federal transfers and regional economies in Russia in 2009 and 2014–2015," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 175-185.
    2. Irina N. Ilina & Carol S. Leonard & Evgenij E. Plisetskij, 2014. "Russian Regional Resilience: Finance, Cooperation And Resource Abundance (A Case Study Of Khanty-Mansiysk)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 15/PA/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    3. Judith Thornton & Krisztina Nagy & Pasita Chaijaroen, 2019. "Changing Tax Effort in Russia’s Regions; the Impact of Re-Centralization," Eurasian Journal of Economics and Finance, Eurasian Publications, vol. 7(1), pages 62-79.
    4. Alexeev, Michael & Mamedov, Arseny, 2017. "Factors determining intra-regional fiscal decentralization in Russia and the US," Russian Journal of Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 425-444.
    5. Markus Eller & Jarko Fidrmuc & Zuzana Fungáčová, 2016. "Fiscal Policy and Regional Output Volatility: Evidence from Russia," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(11), pages 1849-1862, November.
    6. Alexeev, Michael (Алексеев, Майкл) & Mamedov, Arseny (Мамедов, Арсений) & Fomina, Evgenia (Фомина, Евгения) & Deryugin, Alexander (Дерюгин, Александр), 2017. "Influence of the Main Characteristics of Interbudgetary Relations on the Indicators of Economic Development of the Subjects of the Russian Federation [Влияние Основных Характеристик Межбюджетных От," Working Papers 031717, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    7. Carol S. Leonard & Zafar Nazarov & Elena S. Vakulenko, 2016. "The impact of sub-national institutions," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 24(3), pages 421-446, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    expenditures; intergovernmental fiscal relations; political centralization; Russian regions; tax revenues; transfers;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • 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

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