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On Government Centralization and Fiscal Referendums: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Switzerland

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  • Lars P. Feld
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger
  • Jan Schnellenbach

Abstract

We propose and test a positive model of fiscal federalism in which centralization is less likely to occur in jurisdictions with referendum decisions on policy cen-tralization. Citizens choose centralization of public spending and revenue in order to internalize spillovers if individual preferences in two jurisdictions are suffi-ciently homogeneous. Under representative democracy, centralization is ineffi-ciently high because representatives can extract political rents by policy centrali-zation. Referendums thus restrict representatives? ability for rent extraction. An empirical analysis using a panel of Swiss cantons from 1980 to 1998 supports the hypothesis that centralization is less likely under referendum decision-making.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger & Jan Schnellenbach, 2005. "On Government Centralization and Fiscal Referendums: A Theoretical Model and Evidence from Switzerland," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-18, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2014. "Social Capital and Performance of Fiscal Institution in India during 1991-2012," MPRA Paper 75827, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 26 Jun 2015.
    2. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2015. "Social Preference and Governance: A Case Study in India," MPRA Paper 75828, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Apr 2015.
    3. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the Federation]
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Torgler, Benno, 2007. "Government accountability and fiscal discipline: A panel analysis using Swiss data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 117-140, February.
    5. Lars P. Feld & Wolfgang Kerber, 2006. "Mehr-Ebenen Jurisdiktionssysteme: Zur variablen Architektur von Integration," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200605, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Zareh Asatryan & Thushyanthan Baskaran & Theocharis Grigoriadis & Friedrich Heinemann, 2017. "Direct Democracy and Local Public Finances under Cooperative Federalism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(3), pages 801-820, July.
    7. Patricia Funk & Christina Gathmann, 2011. "Does Direct Democracy Reduce the Size of Government? New Evidence from Historical Data, 1890–2000," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(557), pages 1252-1280, December.
    8. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Benno Torgler, 2005. "Trust and Fiscal Performance: A Panel Analysis with Swiss Data," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-05, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Centralization; Fiscal Federalism; Fiscal Referendums;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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