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Le théorème de la décentralisation s’applique-t-il aux collectivités locales françaises ? Un test empirique sur les compétences intercommunales


  • Lionel Vedrine

    () (CESAER - Centre d'Economie et de Sociologie Rurales Appliquées à l'Agriculture et aux Espaces Ruraux - AgroSup Dijon - Institut National Supérieur des Sciences Agronomiques, de l'Alimentation et de l'Environnement - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Quentin Frère

    (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - UL - Université de Lorraine - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)


As a key component of territorial governance in Europe, intermunicipality offers municipalities the opportunity to exercise and collectively fund some local public goods or services. In accordance with the decentralisation theorem, the choice made by municipalities to transfer some competences to the intermunicipal level ought to be based on a trade-off between economies of size and the cost of spatial heterogeneity of citizens' preferences. In order to empirically test this assertion, a probit model is estimated focusing on those French intermunicipalities with own fiscal powers, looking specifically at 10 various competences. Four main results are highlighted : (i) the heterogeneity of citizens' preferences is holding back the transfer of competences from municipalities to the intermunicipal level ; (ii) economies of size and the need to coordinate local public choices predetermine certain competences to be exercised at intermunicipal level ; (iii) intermunicipalities made up of small municipalities are more likely to be entrusted with certain competences ; (iv) the decision to transfer competences to the intermunicipal level is influenced by the decisions made by neighbouring intermunicipalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Lionel Vedrine & Quentin Frère, 2018. "Le théorème de la décentralisation s’applique-t-il aux collectivités locales françaises ? Un test empirique sur les compétences intercommunales," Post-Print hal-02515952, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02515952
    DOI: 10.24187/ecostat.2017.497d.1929
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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    More about this item


    intermunicipal cooperation; decentralisation theorem; economies of size; heterogeneity of preferences; JEL Classification C25 - H11 - H41;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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