IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rim/rimwps/23_14.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Political competition, power allocation and welfare in unitary and federal systems

Author

Listed:
  • Marco Alderighi

    () (Università della Valle d'Aosta, Università Bocconi, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, Italy)

  • Christophe Feder

    (Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy)

Abstract

The paper studies how political competition among self-interested parties affects welfare and power allocation between government levels. We find that the unitary and the federal systems of government are not welfare-maximizing, leading to a higher and a lower than optimal centralization level, respectively. Second best is achieved under the system which induces larger potential welfare losses in response to similar deviations from the first best: the risk of large losses force parties to stay closer to the optimum in order to keep the likelihood of winning the elections high. The federal system yields to the second-best solution when inter-jurisdictional spillovers are weak; vice versa a unitary system is better when such spillovers are strong.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Alderighi & Christophe Feder, 2014. "Political competition, power allocation and welfare in unitary and federal systems," Working Paper series 23_14, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:23_14
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.rcea.org/RePEc/pdf/wp23_14.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "Endogenous constitutions: Politics and politicians matter, economic outcomes don’t," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 47-61.
    2. Ben Lockwood, 2002. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 313-337.
    3. Di Giannatale, Paolo & Passarelli, Francesco, 2013. "Voting chances instead of voting weights," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 164-173.
    4. Strand, Jon, 2012. "Low-level versus high-level equilibrium in public utility services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 163-172.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
    6. Cremer, Jacques & Palfrey, Thomas R., 1996. "In or out?: Centralization by majority vote," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 43-60, January.
    7. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    8. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-337, May.
    9. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    10. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
    11. Lessmann, Christian & Markwardt, Gunther, 2010. "One Size Fits All? Decentralization, Corruption, and the Monitoring of Bureaucrats," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 631-646, April.
    12. Ehtisham Ahmad & Giorgio Brosio & Vito Tanzi, 2008. "Local Service Provision in Selected OECD Countries; Do Decentralized Operations Work Better?," IMF Working Papers 08/67, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, and Efficiency in Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529.
    14. Lorz, Oliver & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "On the endogenous allocation of decision powers in federal structures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 242-257, March.
    15. Cheikbossian, Guillaume, 2008. "Rent-seeking, spillovers and the benefits of decentralization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 217-228, January.
    16. Janos Feidler & Klaas Staal, 2012. "Centralized and decentralized provision of public goods," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 73-93, March.
    17. Grégoire Rota Graziosi, 2009. "On the Strategic Use of Representative Democracy in International Agreements," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 11(2), pages 281-296, April.
    18. Lisa Grazzini & Alessandro Petretto, 2015. "Federalism with Bicameralism," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 16(2), pages 138-160, May.
    19. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2005. "International Unions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 602-615, June.
    20. Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Size versus scope: on the trade-off facing economic unions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 247-267, April.
    21. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
    22. Jacques Cremer & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Federal Mandates by Popular Demand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 905-927, October.
    23. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
    24. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1971. "Increasing risk II: Its economic consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 66-84, March.
    25. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
    26. Ben Lockwood, 2004. "Decentralization via Federal and Unitary Referenda," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(1), pages 79-108, February.
    27. Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "When is two better than one? How federalism mitigates and intensifies imperfect political competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 99-119, April.
    28. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 46(2), pages 237-243, June.
    29. Francis Bloch & Unal Zenginobuz, 2012. "Oates' Decentralization Theorem with Household Mobility," Working Papers hal-00657823, HAL.
    30. Paul Bernd Spahn, 2006. "Contract Federalism," Chapters,in: Handbook of Fiscal Federalism, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    31. Matthias Wrede, 2004. "Small States, Large Unitary States and Federations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 219-240, April.
    32. Redoano, Michela & Scharf, Kimberly A., 2004. "The political economy of policy centralization: direct versus representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 799-817, March.
    33. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
    34. Bryan Caplan, 2001. "Has Leviathan Been Bound? A Theory of Imperfectly Constrained Government with Evidence from the States," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 825-847, April.
    35. Lockwood, Ben, 2005. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Political Economy Perspective," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 721, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecotra:v:13:y:2018:i:c:p:36-47 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:23_14. 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: (Marco Savioli). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/rcfeait.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.