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Decentralizing Spending More Than Revenue: Does it Hurt Fiscal Performance?

  • Luc Eyraud
  • Lusine Lusinyan

In many countries the decentralization of spending responsibilities has outpaced the decentralization of revenue powers. Sub-national governments have then to rely on transfers from the center and borrowing to finance their spending. When this occurs, we find that the overall fiscal deficit tends to increase. This result is based on cross-country econometric evidence from OECD countries, and is particularly strong in the presence of regional disparities. Fiscal discipline can be strengthened by ensuring that sub-national taxing powers are adequate to meet spending obligations.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 11/226.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: 01 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/226
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  1. de Mello, Luiz Jr, 2000. "Fiscal Decentralization and Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 365-380, February.
  2. Bahl, Roy & Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge, 2006. "Sequencing fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3914, The World Bank.
  3. Ernesto Crivelli & Adam Leive & Thomas Stratmann, 2010. "Subnational Health Spending and Soft Budget Constraints in OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 10/147, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Alexander Plekhanov & Raju Singh, 2006. "How Should Subnational Government Borrowing Be Regulated?Some Cross-Country Empirical Evidence," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(3), pages 4.
  5. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2010. "On the link between fiscal decentralization and public debt in OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 351-378, December.
  6. Charles E. McLure, Jr. & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 1998. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in Vietnam," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9802, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  7. Luiz de Mello, 2007. "Local Government Finances: The Link between Intergovernmental Transfers and Net Worth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 581, OECD Publishing.
  8. Roy Bahl & Sally Wallace, 2004. "Intergovernmental Transfers: The Vertical Sharing Dimension," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0419, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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