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Electoral Competition as a Determinant of Fiscal Decentralization

  • Mario Jametti


    (University of Lugano)

  • Marcelin Joanis


    (University of Sherbrooke)

Fiscal decentralization is high on the agenda in policy fora. This paper empirically investigates the underlying causes of Â…fiscal decentralization, based on the predictions of a simple political economy model. We argue that the likeliness that a central government engages in devolution of powers depends in important ways on the political forces that it faces, the theoryÂ’'s main insight being that the central governmentÂ’'s electoral strength should, all else being equal, decrease that governmentÂ’'s share of spending. Consistent with the model'Â’s predictions, empirical results from a panel of democracies support the relevance of political factors as determinants of fiÂ…scal decentralization. The relationship between central government electoral strength and both expenditure and revenue centralization emerges as negative and non-linear.

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Paper provided by USI Università della Svizzera italiana in its series Quaderni della facoltà di Scienze economiche dell'Università di Lugano with number 1107.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lug:wpaper:1107
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  1. Marius BRÜLHART & Mario JAMETTI, 2007. "Does Tax Competition Tame the Leviathan?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 07.09, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. Désirée Teobaldelli, 2011. "Federalism and the shadow economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(3), pages 269-289, March.
  3. Marcelin Joanis, 2008. "The Road to Power: Partisan Loyalty and the Centralized Provision of Local Infrastructure," Cahiers de recherche 08-15, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
  4. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2003. "Decentralized Taxation and the Size of Government: Evidence from Swiss State and Local Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 1087, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Cadot, Olivier & Roller, Lars-Hendrik & Stephan, Andreas, 2006. "Contribution to productivity or pork barrel? The two faces of infrastructure investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1133-1153, August.
  6. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
  7. Enikolopov, Ruben & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2003. "Decentralization and Political Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3857, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
  9. Marcelin Joanis, 2009. "Intertwined Federalism: Accountability Problems under Partial Decentralization," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-39, CIRANO.
  10. Knight, Brian, 2004. "Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 845-866, March.
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