IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fri/fribow/fribow00426.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Voluntary amalgamation of local governments: the Swiss debate in the European context

Author

Abstract

The debate about the amalgamation of local government units stems from the fact that their political borders (the institutional territory) do no longer coincide with the functional territory required for an efficient provision of most local public services. And both do not correspond with the relational territory which arises out of the private and professional activities of LGUs' residents as they commute daily or periodically for work, shopping and leisure. The core question of this paper is how to reform the institutional and functional territories in such a way that public services are delivered efficiently, according to local preferences and in a way that responds to the needs expressed in the larger relational territory. The paper is divided in six sections. Section one summarizes the debate about LGUs' amalgamation in the Swiss context. Section two tackles the fundamental problem: if too many LGUs are too small, when is small too small and why? Horizontal cooperation is one possible solution, but it creates serious problems in terms of principal-agent, democracy, information asymmetry and moral hazard, explained in Section 3. Section 4 presents the core concept of “noyaux durs” which is one of the effective approaches to LGUs amalgamation. Section 5 details the cantonal financial incentives that are needed to encourage voluntary amalgamation, besides a cantonal planning strategy and technical help in the process of amalgamation. Section 6 concludes with some notes on the performance of the system.

Suggested Citation

  • Dafflon, Bernard, 2012. "Voluntary amalgamation of local governments: the Swiss debate in the European context," FSES Working Papers 426, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:fribow00426
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://doc.rero.ch/record/29148/files/WP_SES_426.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dafflon, Bernard, 2010. "Local Fiscal Equalization: a New Proposal and an Experiment," FSES Working Papers 418, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Miriam Hortas-Rico & Vicente Ríos, 2018. "Is there an optimal size for local governments? A spatial panel data model approach," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1809, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    2. Lothar Grall, 2016. "Natural Selection, Technological Progress, and the Origin of Human Longevity," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201645, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2015. "Common pool problems in voluntary municipal mergers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 140-152.
    4. Blaeschke, Frédéric & Haug, Peter, 2014. "Does Intermunicipal Cooperation Increase Efficiency? Evidence from the Hessian Wastewater Sector," IWH Discussion Papers 11/2014, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    5. Christian Bergholz & Ivo Bischoff, 2016. "Citizens‘ support for inter-municipal cooperation: evidence from a survey in the German state of Hesse," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201643, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Local representation and strategic voting: Evidence from electoral boundary reforms," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 31-45.
    7. Lothar Grall, 2016. "Geography, Parental Investment, and Comparative Economic Development," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201646, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    8. Enid Slack and Richard M. Bird, 2013. "Merging Municipalities: Is Bigger Better?," IMFG Papers 14, University of Toronto, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance.
    9. Christian Bergholz & Ivo Bischoff, 2016. "Local council members’ view on inter-municipal cooperation: Does office-related self interest matter?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201647, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Christian Bergholz & Ivo Bischoff, 2015. "Citizens‘ preferences for inter-municipal cooperation in rural areas: evidence from a survey in three Hessian counties," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201523, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    11. Lothar Grall, 2016. "Ice Age Climate, Somatic Capital, and the Timing of the Neolithic Transition," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201644, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    12. Tuula Heiskanen & Esa Jokinen, 2014. "Stability and Change of the Quality of Working Life in Restructuring Municipalities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 118(2), pages 579-599, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    amalgamation of communes; local government; merger; noyaux fort; participative democracy; principal-agent; size of communes; territorial organization; voluntary versus compulsory amalgamation of communes;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:fribow00426. 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: (Ivo raemy). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/wsffrch.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.