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Vertical competition in a unitary state

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  • SALMON, Pierre

    () (LATEC - Université de Bourgogne)

Abstract

The paper is concerned with what Albert Breton, in his theory of competitive federalism has called vertical competition, that is, competition between governments situated at different levels. However its setting is government systems that are unitary rather than federal and structured around three or four levels of government rather than the two often implicitly assumed. The paper tries to show that these characteristics may offer a partial solution to what is perhaps the major problem raised by vertical competition, that is, how winners in a vertical contest get protected against retaliation by the losers when the latter can change the rules (which are not constitutionally entrenched). In federations, the problem typically arises in the context of the relationship between the intermediate (provincial or state) level and the local one. In unitary systems, the relationship affected is the one between the central government and the intermediate level, whereas the competitive relationship between the intermediate and the local levels may find some protection as an effect of the central government playing the role of a monitor. As is illustrated by the decentralization experience in France, a lively vertical competition "at the bottom", between several subcentral tiers of government, may ensue.

Suggested Citation

  • SALMON, Pierre, 1999. "Vertical competition in a unitary state," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 1999-11, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
  • Handle: RePEc:lat:lateco:1999-11
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Niskanen, 1990. "Conditions affecting the survivial of constitutional rules," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 53-62, March.
    2. Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Internal Organization of Government," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
    3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    4. Salmon, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralisation as an Incentive Scheme," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 24-43, Summer.
    5. James Buchanan, 1990. "The domain of constitutional economics," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, December.
    6. Russell Hardin, 1990. "Contractarianism: Wistful thinking," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, March.
    7. Steven Maser, 1985. "Demographic factors affecting constitutional decisions: the case of municipal charters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 121-162, January.
    8. Peter Ordeshook, 1992. "Constitutional stability," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 137-175, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. SALMON, Pierre, 2003. "Assigning powers in the European Union in the light of yardstick competition among governments," LEG - Document de travail - Economie 2003-03, LEG, Laboratoire d'Economie et de Gestion, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
    2. SALMON, Pierre, 2002. "Accounting for centralisation in the European Union : Niskanen, Monnet or Thatcher?," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 2002-05, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
    3. Joan Costa-Font & Ana Rico, 2006. "Vertical Competition in the Spanish National Health System (NHS)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 477-498, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    decentralization; federalism; unitary state; French case; décentralisation; fédéralisme; Etat unitaire; cas français;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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