IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Fiscal Federalism and Economic Performance: Evidence from Swiss Cantons

  • Lars P. Feld


    (Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Philipps Universitaet Marburg)

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner
  • Christoph A. Schaltegger

    (University of St. Gallen, SIAW-HSG, and CESifo
    Swiss Federal Tax Administration, FTA and University of St. Gallen, SIAW-HSG)

The advantages and disadvantages of fiscal federalism are widely discussed in economics and political science. While some authors argue that federalism favors individual initiatives and serves as a market preserving device, others emphasize the dangers arising from an increasing corruption and local capture due to decentralization. In this paper, we empirically study the impact of different instruments of fiscal federalism on economic performance measured by GDP per capita using panel data for the 26 Swiss cantons from 1980 to 1998. In our econometric production function approach, the impact of fiscal federalism, tax competition and grants on economic performance is analyzed by additionally using controls for physical and human capital investment as well as further controls and indicators of fiscal federalism. According to our results, the intensity of tax competition, which is measured by the difference between a cantons tax rate and the average of its neighbors’ tax rates, is at least not harmful for economic performance. Moreover, the fragmentation of cantons in communities does not affect real GDP per capita indicating that economies of scale do not necessarily provide a good argument for a merger of communities.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2004
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series Marburg Working Papers on Economics with number 200420.

in new window

Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mar:volksw:200420
Contact details of provider: Postal: Universitätsstraße 25, 35037 Marburg
Phone: 06421/28-1722
Fax: 06421/28-4858
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Marrewijk, Charles van, 2002. "Locational competition and agglomeration: the role of government spending," Research Report 02C75, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  2. Ludema, Rodney D. & Wooton, Ian, 2000. "Economic geography and the fiscal effects of regional integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 331-357, December.
  3. Weingast, Barry R, 1995. "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-31, April.
  4. Baldwin, Richard E. & Krugman, Paul, 2004. "Agglomeration, integration and tax harmonisation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 1-23, February.
  5. Strumpf, Koleman S, 2002. " Does Government Decentralization Increase Policy Innovation?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(2), pages 207-41.
  6. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2004. "The New Systems Competition," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(1), pages 23-38, 02.
  7. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
  8. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
  9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:107:y:1992:i:2:p:407-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Kind, Hans Jarle & Knarvik, Karen Helene Midelfart & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Competing for capital in a 'lumpy' world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 253-274, November.
  11. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  12. SALMON, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralization as an incentive scheme," Institut des Mathématiques Economiques – Document de travail de l’I.M.E. (1974-1993) 98, Institut des Mathématiques Economiques. LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
  13. Charles B. Blankart & Dennis C. Mueller, 2002. "Alternativen der parlamentarischen Demokratie," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(1), pages 1-21, 02.
  14. Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1608, The World Bank.
  15. Lars P. Feld & Horst Zimmermann & Thomas Döring, 2003. "Föderalismus, Dezentralität und Wirtschaftswachstum," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(3), pages 361-377.
  16. Ulrich Thießen, 2000. "Fiscal Federalism in Western European and Selected Other Countries: Centralization or Decentralization? What Is Better for Economic Growth?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 224, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  17. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
  19. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The selection principle and market failure in systems competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 19854, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  20. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
  21. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
  22. Gary Woller & Kerk Phillips, 1998. "Fiscal decentralisation and IDC economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 139-148.
  23. Ulrich Thießen, 2003. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Economic Growth in High-Income OECD Countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(3), pages 237-274, September.
  24. Christoph A. Schaltegger & René L. Frey, 2003. "Finanzausgleich und Föderalismus: Zur Neugestaltung der föderalen Finanzbeziehungen am Beispiel der Schweiz," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 239-258, 05.
  25. Stegarescu, Dan & Büttner, Thiess & Behnisch, Alexej, 2002. "Public Sector Centralization and Productivity Growth: Reviewing the German Experience," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-03, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  26. Ruben Enikolopov & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2006. "Decentralization and Political Institutions," Working Papers w0065, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  27. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
  28. Akai, Nobuo & Sakata, Masayo, 2002. "Fiscal decentralization contributes to economic growth: evidence from state-level cross-section data for the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 93-108, July.
  29. Roger H. Gordon, 1983. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(4), pages 567-586.
  30. Lars P. Feld & Jean-Michel Josselin & Yvon Rocaboy, 2002. "Le mimétisme fiscal : une application aux Régions françaises," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 156(5), pages 43-49.
  31. Jan K. Brueckner, 2000. "Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries: The Effects of Local Corruption and Tax Evasion," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, May.
  32. Xie, Danyang & Zou, Heng-fu & Davoodi, Hamid, 1999. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 228-239, March.
  33. Hamid Davoodi & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," CEMA Working Papers 98, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  34. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-38.
  35. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mar:volksw:200420. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bernd Hayo)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.