IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Centralization and Accountability: Theory and Evidence from the Clean Air Act

  • Boffa, Federico
  • Piolatto, Amedeo
  • Ponzetto, Giacomo AM

This paper studies fiscal federalism when regions differ in voters’ ability to monitor public officials. We develop a model of political agency in which rent-seeking politicians provide public goods to win support from heterogeneously informed voters. In equilibrium, voter information increases government accountability but displays decreasing returns. Therefore, political centralization reduces aggregate rent extraction when voter information varies across regions. It increases welfare as long as the central government is required to provide public goods uniformly across regions. The need for uniformity implies an endogenous trade off between reducing rents through centralization and matching idiosyncratic preferences through decentralization. We find that a federal structure with overlapping levels of government can be optimal only if regional differences in accountability are sufficiently large. The model predicts that less informed regions should reap greater benefits when the central government sets a uniform policy. Consistent with our theory, we present empirical evidence that less informed states enjoyed faster declines in pollution after the 1970 Clean Air Act centralized environmental policy at the federal level.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9514
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9514.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jun 2013
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9514
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.

Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John A., List & Daniel, Sturm, 2006. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers in Economics 768, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Did the Clean Air Act Cause the Remarkable Decline in Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations?," Working Papers 0407, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  3. repec:clg:wpaper:2015-10 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
  5. Olivier Blanchard & Andrei Shleifer, 2000. "Federalism With and Without Political Centralization. China versus Russia," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1889, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
  7. Alesina, Alberto F & Angeloni, Ignazio & Etro, Federico, 2003. "International Unions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3913, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. HINDRIKS, Jean & LOCKWOOD, Ben, 2005. "Decentralization and electoral accountability: incentives, separation, and voter welfare," CORE Discussion Papers 2005046, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
  11. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  12. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
  13. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1999. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," NBER Working Papers 7442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
  15. Bård Harstad, 2007. "Harmonization and Side Payments in Political Cooperation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 871-889, June.
  16. Erwin Bulte & John A. List & Mark C. Strazicich, 2007. "Regulatory Federalism And The Distribution Of Air Pollutant Emissions," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 155-178.
  17. Rhys Andrews & George A. Boyne, 2009. "Size, Structure and Administrative Overheads: An Empirical Analysis of English Local Authorities," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 46(4), pages 739-759, April.
  18. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2005. "On the Incentives to Experiment in Federations," Discussion Papers 0507, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  19. Miriam A. Golden & Lucio Picci, 2005. "Proposal For A New Measure Of Corruption, Illustrated With Italian Data," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 37-75, 03.
  20. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
  22. Wayne B. Gray & Ronald J. Shadbegian, 2002. "‘Optimal’ Pollution Abatement – Whose Benefits Matter, and How Much?," NCEE Working Paper Series 200205, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Sep 2002.
  23. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Michael Sinkinson, 2011. "The Effect of Newspaper Entry and Exit on Electoral Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 2980-3018, December.
  24. Bayer, Patrick & Keohane, Nathaniel & Timmins, Christopher, 2009. "Migration and hedonic valuation: The case of air quality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 1-14, July.
  25. Durante, Ruben & Labartino, Giovanna & Perotti, Roberto, 2011. "Academic Dynasties: Decentralization and Familism in the Italian Academia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8645, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  27. John A. List & Shelby Gerking, 2000. "Regulatory Federalism and Environmental Protection in the United States," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 453-471.
  28. Dincecco,Mark, 2011. "Political Transformations and Public Finances," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521192330, October.
  29. Bewley, Truman F, 1981. "A Critique of Tiebout's Theory of Local Public Expenditures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 713-740, May.
  30. Michael Greenstone & John A. List & Chad Syverson, 2011. "The Effects of Environmental Regulation on the Competiveness of U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 11-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  31. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Strategic Extremism: Why Republicans and Democrats Divide on Religious Values," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2044, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  32. Giacomo Ponzetto, 2011. "Heterogeneous Information and Trade Policy," Working Papers 596, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  33. Randy A Becker & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," Working Papers 99-9, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    • Randy A. Becker & J. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Costs of Air Quality Regulation," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 159-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Del Monte, Alfredo & Papagni, Erasmo, 2001. "Public expenditure, corruption, and economic growth: the case of Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-16, March.
  35. Lockwood, Ben, 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," CEPR Discussion Papers 2046, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  36. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.
  37. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2010. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," Working Papers 2010.58, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  38. 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.
  39. Dincecco, Mark, 2009. "Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 48-103, March.
  40. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, 03.
  41. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, 01.
  42. James M. Snyder & David Strömberg, 2010. "Press Coverage and Political Accountability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 355-408, 04.
  43. Del Monte, Alfredo & Papagni, Erasmo, 2007. "The determinants of corruption in Italy: Regional panel data analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 379-396, June.
  44. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2000. "Decentralization and corruption - evidence across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2290, The World Bank.
  45. John Joseph Wallis, 2000. "American Government Finance in the Long Run: 1790 to 1990," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 61-82, Winter.
  46. Nicola Gennaioli & Joachim Voth, 2011. "State capacity and military conflict," Economics Working Papers 1294, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2013.
  47. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  48. Dincecco, Mark & Katz, Gabriel, 2012. "State Capacity and Long-Run Performance," MPRA Paper 38299, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  49. John J. Wallis & Price V. Fishback & Shawn E. Kantor, 2006. "Politics, Relief, and Reform. Roosevelt's Efforts to Control Corruption and Political Manipulation during the New Deal," NBER Chapters, in: Corruption and Reform: Lessons from America's Economic History, pages 343-372 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  50. Matthew E. Kahn, 1996. "New Evidence on Trends in Vehicle Emissions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 183-196, Spring.
  51. List, John A. & Gallet, Craig A., 1999. "The environmental Kuznets curve: does one size fit all?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 409-423, December.
  52. Galiani, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul & Schargrodsky, Ernesto, 2008. "School decentralization: Helping the good get better, but leaving the poor behind," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2106-2120, October.
  53. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
  54. Michael Greenstone, 1998. "The Impacts of Environmental Regulations on Industrial Activity: Evidence from the 1970 and 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments and the Census of Manufacturers," Working Papers 787, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  55. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972.
  56. Fredriksson, Per G & Gaston, Noel, 2000. "Environmental Governance in Federal Systems: The Effects of Capital Competition and Lobby Groups," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(3), pages 501-14, July.
  57. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  58. Mariano Tommasi & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2007. "Centralization vs. Decentralization: A Principal-Agent Analysis," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(2), pages 369-389, 04.
  59. Janet Currie & Johannes F. Schmieder, 2009. "Fetal Exposures to Toxic Releases and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 177-183, May.
  60. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9514. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.