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On the Incentives to Experiment in Federations

  • Christos Kotsogiannis

    (Department of Economics, University of Exeter)

  • Robert Schwager

    (Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen and Zentrum fur Europaische Wirtschaftsforschung Mannheim)

Conventional wisdom has it that policy innovation is better promoted in a federal rather than in a unitary system. Recent research, however, has provided theoretical evidence to the contrary: a multi-jurisdictional system is characterized—due to the existence of a horizontal information externality—by under-provision of policy innovation. This paper presents a simple model that introduces political competition for federal o?ce and emphasizes that such competition plays an important role in shaping the incentives for experimentation. For, in this case, political actors use the innovative policies to signal ability to the electorate. This e?ect may o?set the e?ect that arises from the incentive to free ride, and so a federal system may generate more innovation than a unitary one.

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File URL: http://people.exeter.ac.uk/cc371/RePEc/dpapers/DP0507.pdf
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Paper provided by Exeter University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0507.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:exe:wpaper:0507
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  1. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
  2. Rincke, Johannes, 2006. "Competition in the public school sector: Evidence on strategic interaction among US school districts," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 352-369, May.
  3. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
  4. Strumpf, Koleman S, 2002. " Does Government Decentralization Increase Policy Innovation?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(2), pages 207-41.
  5. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  6. Johannes Rincke, 2005. "Neighborhood Influence and Political Change: Evidence from US School Districts," Public Economics 0511011, EconWPA.
  7. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Political Uncertainty and Policy Innovation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(5), pages 779-805, December.
  8. Rincke, Johannes, 2005. "Neighborhood Influence and Political Change: Evidence from US School Districts," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Kollman, Ken & Miller, John H & Page, Scott E, 2000. "Decentralization and the Search for Policy Solutions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 102-28, April.
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