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

Is fiscal decentralization harmful for economic growth? Evidence from the OECD countries

  • Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


    (IMDEA Ciencias Sociales)

  • Roberto Ezcurra


    (Universidad Pública de Navarra)

The global drive towards decentralization has been increasingly justified on the basis that greater transfers of resources to subnational governments are expected to deliver greater efficiency in the provision of public goods and services and greater economic growth. This paper examines whether this is the case, by analysing the relationship between decentralization and economic growth in 21 OECD countries during the period between 1990 and 2005 and controlling not only for fiscal decentralization, but also for political and administrative decentralization. The results point towards a negative and significant association between fiscal decentralization and economic growth in the sample countries, a relationship which is robust to the inclusion of a series of control variables and to differences in expenditure preferences by subnational governments. The impact of political and administrative decentralization on economic growth is weaker and sensitive to the definition and measurement of political decentralization.

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 Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2010-09.

in new window

Date of creation: 24 May 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Geography 11(4), July 2011: 619-643
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2010-09
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Veláquez 76, 28001 Madrid

Phone: +34917816570
Fax: +34916766052
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.:

as in new window
  1. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "Hypothesis Testing with Efficient Method of Moments Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 777-87, October.
  2. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  3. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Nicholas Gill, 2004. "Is there a global link between regional disparities and devolution?," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(12), pages 2097-2117, December.
  4. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
  5. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
  6. Akai, Nobuo & Sakata, Masayo, 2002. "Fiscal decentralization contributes to economic growth: evidence from state-level cross-section data for the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 93-108, July.
  7. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
  8. Gary Woller & Kerk Phillips, 1998. "Fiscal decentralisation and IDC economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 139-148.
  9. Gernot Doppelhofer & Ronald I. Miller & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2000. "Determinants of Long-Term Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," NBER Working Papers 7750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Robert McNab, 2001. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0101, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  12. Kenneth D. West & Whitney K. Newey, 1995. "Automatic Lag Selection in Covariance Matrix Estimation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Iimi, Atsushi, 2005. "Decentralization and economic growth revisited: an empirical note," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 449-461, May.
  14. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
  15. Roberto Ezcurra & Pedro Pascual, 2008. "Fiscal decentralization and regional disparities: evidence from several European Union countries," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 40(5), pages 1185-1201, May.
  16. Sapir, Andre & Aghion, Philippe & Bertola, Giuseppe & Hellwig, Martin & Pisani-Ferry, Jean & Rosati, Dariusz & Vinals, Jose & Wallace, Helen, 2004. "An Agenda for a Growing Europe: The Sapir Report," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199271498, December.
  17. Dan Stegarescu, 2005. "Public sector decentralisation: measurement concepts and recent international trends," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 301-333, September.
  18. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Adala Bwire, 2004. "The economic (in)efficiency of devolution," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 36(11), pages 1907-1928, November.
  19. Andres Rodriguez-Pose & Nicholas Gill, 2005. "On the 'economic dividend' of devolution," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(4), pages 405-420.
  20. Stansel, Dean, 2005. "Local decentralization and local economic growth: A cross-sectional examination of US metropolitan areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 55-72, January.
  21. Ulrich Thießen, 2003. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Economic Growth in High-Income OECD Countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(3), pages 237-274, September.
  22. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld, 2013. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in OECD Countries," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 41(4), pages 421-445, July.
  23. Ram, Rati, 1986. "Government Size and Economic Growth: A New Framework and Some Evidencefrom Cross-Section and Time-Series Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(1), pages 191-203, March.
  24. Pak Hung Mo, 2007. "Government Expenditures and Economic Growth: The Supply and Demand Sides," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(4), pages 497-522, December.
  25. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 2001. "The growth impact of intersectoral and intergovernmental allocation of public expenditure: With applications to China and India," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 58-81.
  26. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
  27. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Sylvia A R Tijmstra & Adala Bwire, 2009. "Fiscal decentralisation, efficiency, and growth," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 41(9), pages 2041-2062, September.
  28. Thornton, John, 2007. "Fiscal decentralization and economic growth reconsidered," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 64-70, January.
  29. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  30. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
  31. John Tomaney, 2002. "The Evolution of Regionalism in England," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(7), pages 721-731.
  32. Kevin Morgan, 2002. "English Question: Regional Perspectives on a Fractured Nation," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(7), pages 797-810.
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:imd:wpaper:wp2010-09. 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: (IMDEA RePEc Maintainer)

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.