IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Decentralization and Fiscal Discipline in Subnational Governments:The Bailout Problem in Uruguay

Listed author(s):
  • Fernando Filgueira
  • Fernando Lorenzo
  • Juan Andrés Moraes
  • Herman Kamil
  • Andrés Rius

This paper analyzes the reasons behind Central Government (CG) bailouts of Subnational Governments (SNGs) in the case of Uruguay. We argued that Uruguay represents a good example of the risks of fiscal decentralization, in the context of adjustment policies, and when SNGs` responsibilities and resources have not been carefully defined. We show that, in unitary countries where SNGs lack the opportunities to misbehave that they have in federal countries (e. g. , public debt issuance, international borrowing), SNG officials find ways to finance deficits through non-compliance with politically contestable obligations. In particular, SNGs in Uruguay finance their deficits by accumulating debts with other government agencies and obtaining discretionary transfers from the CG. Through statistical analyses we show that debts and deficits are mainly related to vertical fiscal imbalances and economic conditions in the SN jurisdictions. Yet, the analysis of recent bailout episodes suggests that institutions and political factors play a role (i. e. , they are important ex-post factors). This implies that bailouts have been more than simple compensations for structural imbalances, thus creating opportunities for strategic behavior on the part of SNG authorities (partly confirmed by the disparate fiscal performance of Montevideo vis-à-vis the rest of the country).

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3152.

in new window

Date of creation: May 2002
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3152
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1300 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20577

Phone: 202-623-1000
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Alesina, Alberto & Hausmann, Ricardo & Hommes, Rudolf & Stein, Ernesto, 1999. "Budget institutions and fiscal performance in Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 253-273, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3152. 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: (Monica Bazan)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.