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Federalism and Decentralization – A Critical Survey of Frequently Used Indicators

Author

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  • Lorenz Blume

    () (University of Kassel)

  • Stefan Voigt

    () (Philipps-University Marburg)

Abstract

The economic effects of federalism are unclear: some papers find that federalism has strong positive effects on a number of economically relevant variables, others find negative effects. The results often crucially hinge upon the proxies for federalism used. In this paper, we critically survey the existing indicators for both federalism and fiscal decentralization. We argue that federalism is a constitutional institution whereas decentralization is (the outcome of) a policy choice and that the two ought to be systematically distinguished because decentralization can also occur in non-federally structured states. We further argue that institutional details are very important with regard to federalism and that dummy variables usually capture only very specific aspects of the institutional details. We use factor analysis to test whether the latent variables behind the observed indicators support these assumptions. It is shown that more than two important factors result, implying that a more fine-grained differentiation beyond the distinction between federalism and decentralization might be in order. The correlations of the most important proxies for various aspects of federalism and decentralization with a number of (quasi-) exogenous variables as well as with institutional variables are usually rather modest.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Federalism and Decentralization – A Critical Survey of Frequently Used Indicators," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200821, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:200821
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    File URL: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/makro/forschung/magkspapers/21-2008_blume.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Enikolopov, Ruben & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Decentralization and political institutions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2261-2290, December.
    2. Charles Blankart, 2000. "The Process of Government Centralization: A Constitutional View," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 27-39, March.
    3. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Do Institutions Cause Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 271-303, September.
    5. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    6. Feld, Lars P. & Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Schnellenbach, Jan, 2008. "On government centralization and fiscal referendums," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 611-645, May.
    7. Thomas Döring & Jan Schnellenbach, 2011. "A tale of two federalisms: Germany, the United States and the ubiquity of centralization," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 83-102, March.
    8. Feld, Lars P. & Voigt, Stefan, 2003. "Economic growth and judicial independence: cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 497-527, September.
    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Goel, Rajeev K. & Mazhar, Ummad & Nelson, Michael A. & Ram, Rati, 2017. "Different forms of decentralization and their impact on government performance: Micro-level evidence from 113 countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 171-183.
    2. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    3. Libman, Alexander, 2011. "Words or deeds – what matters? Experience of recentralization in Russian security agencies," MPRA Paper 29197, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Libman, Alexander, 2010. "Constitutions, regulations, and taxes: Contradictions of different aspects of decentralization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 395-418, December.
    5. Gutmann, Jerg & Voigt, Stefan, 2017. "Why Adopt a Federal Constitution? And why Decentralize? – Determinants Based on a New Dataset," ILE Working Paper Series 6, University of Hamburg, Institute of Law and Economics.
    6. Lars Feld, 2014. "James Buchanan’s theory of federalism: from fiscal equity to the ideal political order," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 231-252, September.
    7. Montolio, Daniel & Trillas, Francesc, 2013. "Regulatory federalism and industrial policy in broadband telecommunications," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 18-31.
    8. Jaimes, Richard, 2016. "Estimating Fiscal Adjustments at the Local Level in Colombia," MPRA Paper 75507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Pierre Salmon, 2013. "Decentralization and growth: what if the cross-jurisdiction approach had met a dead end?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 87-107, June.
    10. Axel Dreher & Kai Gehring & Christos Kotsogiannis & Silvia Marchesi, 2013. "Information transmission within federal fiscal architectures: Theory and evidence," Working Papers 253, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2013.
    11. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Constitutions, Regulations, and Taxes: Contradictions of Different Aspects of Decentralization," MPRA Paper 15854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2012. "The economic effects of federalism and decentralization—a cross-country assessment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 229-254, April.
    13. Antoine Cazals & Pierre Mandon, 2015. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation of Leaders or Bias from Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers halshs-01238883, HAL.
    14. Antoine CAZALS & Pierre MANDON, 2016. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation from Leaders or Manipulation from Researchers? Evidence from a Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers 201609, CERDI.
    15. John Ashworth & Emma Galli & Fabio Padovano, 2013. "Decentralization as a constraint to Leviathan: a panel cointegration analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 491-516, September.
    16. Antoine Cazals & Pierre Mandon, 2016. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation from Leaders or Manipulation from Researchers? Evidence from a Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers halshs-01320586, HAL.
    17. Alexander Libman, 2012. "Sub-national political regimes and asymmetric fiscal decentralization," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 302-336, December.
    18. Torrisi, Gianpiero & Pike, Andy & Tomaney, John & Tselios, Vassilis, 2011. "Defining and measuring decentralisation: a critical review," MPRA Paper 51441, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Alexander Libman, 2015. "Words or deeds: what matters? On the role of symbolic action in political decentralization," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 801-838, November.
    20. Becker, Lasse & Bizer, Kilian, 2015. "Federalism and innovation support for small and medium-sized enterprises: Empirical evidence in Europe," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 245, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Federalism; Fiscal federalism; Decentralization;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues

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