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On the Endogenous Allocation of Decision Powers in Federal Structures

  • Oliver Lorz
  • Gerald Willmann

This paper provides a political-economy explanation of the degree of centralization in economic policy making. To determine which policies are to be centralized, regions select representatives who then negotiate the degree of centralization and the regional cost shares of centrally decided policies. We show that the resulting degree of centralization is suboptimally low. Voters strategically delegate to representatives who are averse to public spending and hence prefer decentralized decisions in order to reduce their region's cost share. When spill-overs are asymmetric, strategic delegation is stronger at the periphery than at the center.

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File URL: https://www.ifw-members.ifw-kiel.de/publications/on-the-endogenous-allocation-of-decision-powers-in-federal-structures/kap1209.pdf
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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1209.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1209
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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  2. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  3. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Roberto Perotti & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Electoral Systems And Public Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 609-657, May.
  4. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
  5. Redoano, Michela & Scharf, Kimberly A., 2004. "The political economy of policy centralization: direct versus representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 799-817, March.
  6. Lockwood, Ben, 2002. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 313-37, April.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," NBER Working Papers 8645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  11. Jan K. Brueckner, 2004. "Fiscal Decentralization with Distortionary Taxation: Tiebout vs. Tax Competition," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 133-153, 03.
  12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
  13. V. V. Chari & Larry E. Jones & Ramon Marimon, 1997. "The economics of split-ticket voting in representative democracies," Working Papers 582, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Segendorff, Bjorn, 1998. "Delegation and Threat in Bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 266-283, May.
  15. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2000. "Federalism, distributive politics and representative democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 105-122, 07.
  17. Sergiu Hart & Andreu Mas-Colell, 1994. "Bargaining and value," Economics Working Papers 114, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 1995.
  18. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  19. Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1987. "The economics of the local public sector," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 11, pages 571-645 Elsevier.
  20. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
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