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Regional inequality and decentralization – an empirical analysis

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  • Christian Lessmann

    () (Technische Universität Dresden & CESifo)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of political and fiscal decentralization on regional inequalities using a unique data set which covers 56 countries at different stages of economic development. Cross-section and panel data estimations show that decentralization decreases regional inequalities in general. However, estimations using an interaction variable approach imply that the effect depends on the level of economic development. While rich countries benefit from decentralization with regard to a more equal regional income distribution, decentralization may lead to higher regional inequalities in developing and emerging economies. The results are pointing in the same direction for measures of fiscal and political decentralization implying that both -autonomy in decision making and fiscal authority- are decisive in this context. Thus, when fostering decentralization in developing countries -as proposed by international development agencies- the potential negative redistributional consequences should be taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Lessmann, 2012. "Regional inequality and decentralization – an empirical analysis," Working Papers 2012/20, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-20
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    Cited by:

    1. Görkemli Kazar & Altuð Kazar, 2015. "Is “Harmonious Development” Valid for European Union Regions?," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 5(4), pages 954-967.
    2. Lessmann, Christian, 2013. "Foreign direct investment and regional inequality: A panel data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 129-149.
    3. repec:jns:jbstat:v:237:y:2017:i:3:p:225-273:n:5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Christian Lessmann, 2016. "Regional Inequality and Internal Conflict," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 17(2), pages 157-191, May.
    5. Stossberg Sibylle & Blöchliger Hansjörg, 2017. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 237(3), pages 225-273, June.
    6. Lessmann, Christian & Seidel, André, 2017. "Regional inequality, convergence, and its determinants – A view from outer space," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 110-132.
    7. Markwardt, Gunther & Farzanegan, Mohammad & Leßmann, Christian, 2013. "Natural-resource rents and internal conflicts - Can decentralization lift the curse?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79940, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Yuanshuo Xu & Mildred E Warner, 2016. "Does devolution crowd out development? A spatial analysis of US local government fiscal effort," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(5), pages 871-890, May.
    9. Caroline-Antonia Goerl & Mike Seiferling, 2014. "Income Inequality, Fiscal Decentralization and Transfer Dependency," IMF Working Papers 14/64, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Javier Martín-Román & Luis Ayala & Juan Vicente, 2017. "Regional inequality in decentralized countries: a multi-country analysis using LIS," LIS Working papers 697, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    11. Georg Hirte & Christian Leßmann, 2014. "Trade, Integration, and Interregional Inequality," CESifo Working Paper Series 4799, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Ezcurra, Roberto & Palacios, David, 2016. "Terrorism and spatial disparities: Does interregional inequality matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 60-74.
    13. Rosella Levaggi & Francesco Menoncin, 2015. "Would less solidarity justify present calls for devolution?," Working papers 32, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    14. Georg Hirte & Christian Lessmann, 2014. "Trade and Interregional Inequality," ERSA conference papers ersa14p304, European Regional Science Association.
    15. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9416-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:17:y:2017:i:6:p:1149-1178. is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Tiangboho Sanogo, 2017. "Does fiscal decentralization enhance citizens’ access to public services and reduce poverty? Evidence from a conflict setting," Working Papers halshs-01582478, HAL.
    18. Lessmann, Christian, 2014. "Spatial inequality and development — Is there an inverted-U relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 35-51.
    19. Luca Agnello & Giorgio Fazio & Ricardo M. Sousa, 2016. "National fiscal consolidations and regional inequality in Europe," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 9(1), pages 59-80.
    20. Makreshanska, Suzana & Petrevski, Goran, 2016. "Decentralization, fiscal transfers and income inequality in Central and Eastern European countries," MPRA Paper 82181, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2017.
    21. Muinelo-Gallo, Leonel & Rodriguez-Miranda, Adrián & Castro-Scavone, Pablo, 2017. "Intergovernmental transfers and regional income inequalities in Uruguay," MPRA Paper 76983, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. repec:pid:journl:v:55:y:2016:i:4:p:781-802 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Tiangboho SANOGO, 2017. "Does fiscal decentralization enhance citizens’ access to public services and reduce poverty? Evidence from a conflict setting," Working Papers 201715, CERDI.
    24. Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Alfred M. Wu, 2017. "Fiscal decentralization, equalization, and intra-provincial inequality in China," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(2), pages 248-281, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional inequality; decentralization; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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