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Fiscal Decentralisation and Public Investment: The Experience of Latin America

Listed author(s):
  • Luiz de Mello


Despite large differences across countries, Latin America’s average investment-to-GDP ratio and the overall quality of infrastructure in the region are relatively low by international comparison. Empirical evidence on the effects of fiscal decentralisation on investment based on a panel of Latin American countries since the late 1990 suggests that fiscal decentralisation discourages Latin American subnational governments from investing (acquiring fixed assets) and that lower subnational spending on investment is associated with lower economy-wide gross fixed capital formation. Latin American countries will therefore need to face a double challenge of revisiting the current arrangements for decentralised provision that discourage subnational governments from investing, while making the most of decentralisation as a policy lever to raise private investment. Décentralisation budgétaire et investissement public : L'expérience de l'Amérique latine Malgré des différences très marquées d’un pays à l’autre, le taux moyen d’investissement par rapport au PIB et la qualité globale des infrastructures de la région sont relativement faibles par comparaison internationale. Les données empiriques concernant les effets de la décentralisation budgétaire sur l’investissement pour un groupe de pays d’Amérique latine depuis la fin des années 90 montrent que la décentralisation budgétaire décourage les administrations infranationales de ces pays d’investir (c’est-à-dire d’acquérir des actifs immobilisés) et que de plus faibles dépenses d’investissement au niveau infranational se répercutent négativement sur la formation brute de capital fixe dans l’ensemble de l’économie. Les pays d’Amérique latine seront donc confrontés à un double défi : revoir les dispositifs actuels de décentralisation qui découragent les investissements des administrations infranationales et tirer le meilleur parti de la décentralisation comme moyen d’action pour accroître l’investissement privé.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 824.

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Date of creation: 06 Dec 2010
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:824-en
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