Does the method adopted for distribution of services by amalgamating municipalities affect expenditure after amalgamation? Evidence from Japan
Municipal boundary reform (municipal amalgamation) has been done in many countries in recent years as the result of a push to enlarge the size and coverage of local government units, which in turn is driven mainly by the prospect of economies of scale. However, in a notable body of previous literature, the enlargement of local government has not led to reduction of public expenditures. Decision-making before amalgamation might affect to public expenditure after amalgamation. This study uses Japanese municipal-level data and argues for a relation between the choice of public administration distribution method and expenditure after amalgamation. The results show that a plan for distributed or decentralized facility method is more likely to be adopted in a larger administrative jurisdiction and in one with large differences in finances or political structures between amalgamated sub-regions. In turn, a plan for distributed facilities has the effect of pushing up administrative expenditure.Length: 12 pages
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