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On the Link Between Fiscal Decentralization and Public Debt in OECD Countries


  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan


Excessive borrowing by subnational governments is considered to be one of the perils of fiscal decentralization. On the other hand, fiscal decentralization might ensure the scal stability of the public sector by constraining Leviathan governments. Since the impact of decentralized government on fiscal outcomes is therefore ambiguous from a theoretical perspective, we explore this question empirically with a panel of 17 OECD countries over the 1975-2001 period. Our findings suggest that expenditure decentralization signicantly reduces public indebtedness, whereas tax decentralization and vertical fiscal imbalances are insignicant.

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  • Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2010. "On the Link Between Fiscal Decentralization and Public Debt in OECD Countries," MPRA Paper 21599, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:21599

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Zareh Asatryan & Lars Feld & Benny Geys, 2015. "Partial fiscal decentralization and sub-national government fiscal discipline: empirical evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 307-320, June.
    2. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2012. "Tax Decentralization and Public Deficits in OECD Countries," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 688-707, October.
    3. Agnieszka Kopańska, 2016. "Partial decentralization and its influence on local governments’ spending policy. An analysis of spending for teachers and other resources needed for schools," Working Papers 2016-38, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    4. Mandel Philipp & Süssmuth Bernd, 2015. "Public Education, Accountability, and Yardstick Competition in a Federal System," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(4), pages 1679-1703, October.
    5. Potrafke, Niklas, 2017. "Partisan politics: The empirical evidence from OECD panel studies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 712-750.
    6. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi & Pablo Simon-Cosano, 2014. "Who honor the rules of federalism? Party system nationalization and fiscal performance," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1409, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    7. Izabela Karpowicz, 2012. "Narrowing Vertical Fiscal Imbalances in Four European Countries," IMF Working Papers 12/91, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2012. "Soft budget constraints and strategic interactions in subnational borrowing: Evidence from the German States, 1975–2005," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 114-127.
    9. Aldasoro, Iñaki & Seiferling, Mike, 2014. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and the accumulation of government debt," SAFE Working Paper Series 61, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    10. Luc Eyraud & Lusine Lusinyan, 2011. "Decentralizing Spending More Than Revenue; Does it Hurt Fiscal Performance?," IMF Working Papers 11/226, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Benjamin Larin & Bernd Süssmuth, 2014. "Fiscal Autonomy and Fiscal Sustainability: Subnational Taxation and Public Indebtedness in Contemporary Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 4726, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Köppl Turyna, Monika & Pitlik, Hans, 2016. "Do equalization payments affect subnational borrowing? Evidence from regression discontinuity," MPRA Paper 73749, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Karolina Kaiser & Emmanuelle Taugourdeau, 2013. "The timing of elections in federations: a disciplining device against soft budget constraints?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 154(3), pages 197-215, March.
    14. Gu, Gyun Cheol, 2012. "Developing Composite Indicators for Fiscal Decentralization: Which Is The Best Measure For Whom?," MPRA Paper 43032, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Eyraud, Luc & Lusinyan, Lusine, 2013. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and fiscal performance in advanced economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 571-587.
    16. Oto-Peralías, Daniel & Romero-Ávila, Diego & Usabiaga, Carlos, 2013. "Does fiscal decentralization mitigate the adverse effects of corruption on public deficits?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 205-231.
    17. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.
    18. International Monetary Fund, 2015. "Romania; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 15/80, International Monetary Fund.
    19. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Jorge Martínez-Vázquez & Agnese Sacchi, 2018. "Fiscal stability during the great recesion: Putting decentralization design to the test," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 1806, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    20. Aristovnik, Aleksander, 2012. "Fiscal decentralization in Eastern Europe: a twenty-year perspective," MPRA Paper 39316, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Fiscal decentralization; Public debt; Soft budget constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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