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Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Spending in Switzerland


  • Isabelle Joumard
  • Claude Giorno


Switzerland is a highly decentralised country with large spending and revenue-raising powers devolved to cantons and municipalities. The federal system, in combination with an extensive use of direct democracy, has contributed to keep public spending at a relatively low level in international comparison. It has also made it possible to tailor the provision of public services to citizens’ needs and willingness to pay and to experiment with a variety of policies. At the same time, several tensions have emerged and effective control of spending deteriorated during the 1990s. After identifying these tensions, this paper reviews recent policy initiatives and proposes options for further enhancing public spending effectiveness. These entail implementing a new fiscal rule which will allow the free play of the automatic stabilisers at the federal level and ensuring its consistency with other government levels’ behaviour; increasing transparency in public spending costs and ... Améliorer l'efficacité des dépenses publiques en Suisse En Suisse, pays très décentralisé, d’importants pouvoirs sont dévolus aux cantons et aux communes en matière de dépenses et de recettes. Le système fédéral conjugué à un large usage de la démocratie directe a permis de maintenir des dépenses publiques à un niveau relativement faible comparativement aux autres pays. Il a également permis d’adapter la fourniture des services publics en fonction des besoins et de la disposition des citoyens à payer, et d’expérimenter diverses politiques. Dans le même temps, un certain nombre de tensions sont apparues et le contrôle effectif des dépenses s’est détérioré au cours des années 90. Après avoir identifié ces tensions, cet article passe en revue les initiatives récentes de politiques économiques et propose des options visant à améliorer l’efficacité des dépenses publiques. Celles-ci comprennent la mise en œuvre d’une nouvelle règle budgétaire permettant de laisser librement jouer les stabilisateurs automatiques au niveau fédéral tout en ...

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Joumard & Claude Giorno, 2002. "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Public Spending in Switzerland," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 332, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:332-en

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    Cited by:

    1. Lkhagvadorj, Ariunaa, 2010. "Fiscal Federalism and Decentralization in Mongolia," MPRA Paper 28758, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2010.

    More about this item


    dépenses publiques; fiscal equalisation; fiscal federalism; fiscal rules; fédéralisme fiscal; intergovernmental grants; new public management; nouvelle gestion publique; public spending; péréquation financière; règles budgétaires; Suisse; Switzerland; transferts intergouvernementaux;

    JEL classification:

    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H6 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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