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Developing Composite Indicators for Fiscal Decentralization: Which Is The Best Measure For Whom?

  • Gu, Gyun Cheol

The right way to measure the degree and extent of the different aspects of fiscal decentralization has been a long-debated, yet underdeveloped issue. There has been little consensus on the right approach to developing a single indicator which is sometimes needed to show a general trend in fiscal decentralization and reveal relationship to other variables in empirical studies. In particular, several composite indicators of fiscal decentralization have been proposed, but there are very few attempts to evaluate and compare these measures in terms of implicit biases and different weights between revenue and expenditure decentralization. Critically reviewing and comparing various types of fiscal-relation indicators in a systematic way, this paper proposes two criteria to classify similar-looking composite indicators for fiscal decentralization while it also presents two new composite measures. The new fiscal decentralization indicators are symmetric in terms of the relative effects of revenue and expenditure decentralization on the value of the composite indicators at the same time that they are weighted for/against fiscal gaps and imbalances. It is argued that different composite indicators reflect different perspectives on which aspect of fiscal decentralization is more important and whether a growing fiscal gap means less fiscal decentralization or not.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 43032.

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Date of creation: 28 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:43032
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  1. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Andrey Timofeev, 2009. "Decentralization Measures Revisited," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0913, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Luc Eyraud & Anita Tuladhar & Julio Escolano & Marialuz Moreno Badia & Juliane Sarnes, 2012. "Fiscal Performance, Institutional Design and Decentralization in European Union Countries," IMF Working Papers 12/45, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Dan Stegarescu, 2005. "Public sector decentralisation: measurement concepts and recent international trends," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 301-333, September.
  4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2010. "On the Link Between Fiscal Decentralization and Public Debt in OECD Countries," MPRA Paper 21599, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Jin, Jing & Zou, Heng-fu, 2002. "How does fiscal decentralization affect aggregate, national, and subnational government size?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 270-293, September.
  6. Roy Bahl & Sally Wallace, 2004. "Intergovernmental Transfers: The Vertical Sharing Dimension," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0419, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  7. 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.
  8. Richard M. Bird, 2012. "Are There Trends in Local Finance? A Comparative Look at Data and Normative Models of Local Government Finance," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1205, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  9. Dan Stegarescu, 2009. "The effects of economic and political integration on fiscal decentralization: evidence from OECD countries," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(2), pages 694-718, May.
  10. Luc Eyraud & Lusine Lusinyan, 2011. "Decentralizing Spending More Than Revenue; Does it Hurt Fiscal Performance?," IMF Working Papers 11/226, International Monetary Fund.
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