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Federal Fiscal Constitutions ; Part I: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard

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  • Persson, T.
  • Tabellini, G.

Abstract

Inspired by the current European developments, we study equilibrium fiscal policy under alternative constitutional arrangements in a “federation” of countries. There are two levels of government: local and federal. Local policy redistributes across individuals and affects the probability of aggregate shocks, while federal policy shares international risk. Policies are chosen under majority rule. There is a moral hazard problem: federal risk-sharing can induce the local governments to enact policies that increase local risk. We investigate this incentive problem under alternative fiscal constitutions. In particular, we contrast a vertically ordered system like the EC with a horizontally ordered federal system like the US. These alternative arrangements are not neutral, in the sense that they create different incentives for policymakers and voters, and give rise to different political equilibria. A general conclusion is that, centralization of functions and power can be welfare improving under appropriate institutions. However, this conclusion only applies to the moral hazard problem and a federation where the countries are not too dissimilar.
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Suggested Citation

  • Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1992. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions ; Part I: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Papers 519, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:stocin:519
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. Jewitt, Ian, 1988. "Justifying the First-Order Approach to Principal-Agent Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(5), pages 1177-1190, September.
    3. Tabellini, Guido & Alesina, Alberto, 1990. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 37-49, March.
    4. Bureau, Dominique & Champsaur, Paul, 1992. "Fiscal Federalism and European Economic Unification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 88-92, May.
    5. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Jeffrey Sachs, 1991. "Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe From the United States," NBER Working Papers 3855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Wildasin, David E, 1990. "Budgetary Pressures in the EEC: A Fiscal Federalism Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 69-74, May.
    7. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-330, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
    2. Caillaud, B. & Jullien, B. & Picard, P., 1996. "National vs European incentive policies: Bargaining, information and coordination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 91-111, January.
    3. Fausto Hernández Trillo & Alberto Díaz Cayeros & Rafael Gamboa González, 2002. "Fiscal Decentralization in Mexico: The Bailout Problem," Research Department Publications 3143, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Tesar, Linda L., 1995. "Evaluating the gains from international risksharing," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 95-143, June.
    5. Luca Agnello & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2009. "The Determinants of Public Deficit Volatility," NIPE Working Papers 11/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    6. Jääskelä, Jarkko, 1997. "Incomplete insurance market and its policy implication within European Monetary Union," Research Discussion Papers 8/1997, Bank of Finland.
    7. Lejour, A.M., 1995. "Cooperative and competitive policies in the EU : The European Siamese twin?," Discussion Paper 1995-20, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    8. Olga Lucía Acosta N. & Israel Fainboim & Catalina Gutiérrez S. & Blanca Cecilia Zuluaga D., 1999. "Relaciones fiscales entre el Distrito Especial de Bogotá y la Nación," COYUNTURA SOCIAL 013094, FEDESARROLLO.
    9. Lejour, A.M., 1995. "Integrating or desintegrating welfare states? : A qualitative study to the consequences of economic integration on social insurance," Other publications TiSEM eceb51dc-bd45-4570-b81c-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General

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