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Federal Transfers and Fiscal Discipline in India: An Empirical Evaluation



This paper examines the relationship between federal transfers and fiscal deficits in India. The system of federal transfers has been criticized on the grounds that it distorts the incentives for states to promote fiscal discipline. We analyze the relationship between transfers, state domestic product, and fiscal deficit for a panel of states during the period 1990–2010. The paper finds a positive long-run relationship and bi-directional causality between primary/gross fiscal deficits and non-plan transfers. Further, there is a negative long-run relationship and one-way causality between state domestic product and transfers. These results are confirmed by multi-variate cointegration analysis, which finds a long-run relationship between fiscal transfers, state product per capita and the primary deficit of the states. The evidence in the paper is consistent with the system of fiscal transfers being “gap-filling.”

Suggested Citation

  • Antra Bhatt & Pasquale Scaramozzino, 2013. "Federal Transfers and Fiscal Discipline in India: An Empirical Evaluation," CEIS Research Paper 271, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 17 Apr 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:271

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. R. Nagaraj & A. Varoudakis & M.-A. Véganzonès, 2000. "Long-run growth trends and convergence across Indian States," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 45-70.
    2. Robin Boadway & Anwar Shah, 2007. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers : Principles and Practice," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7171.
    3. Kremers, Jeroen J M & Ericsson, Neil R & Dolado, Juan J, 1992. "The Power of Cointegration Tests," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 325-348, August.
    4. Kaddour Hadri, 2000. "Testing for stationarity in heterogeneous panel data," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 3(2), pages 148-161.
    5. Joakim Westerlund, 2007. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 709-748, December.
    6. Alessandrini, Michele & Buccellato, Tullio & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2008. "Whither the Indian Federation? Regional Disparities and Economic Reforms," MPRA Paper 23416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Zivot, Eric & Andrews, Donald W K, 2002. "Further Evidence on the Great Crash, the Oil-Price Shock, and the Unit-Root Hypothesis," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-44, January.
    8. Damiaan Persyn & Joakim Westerlund, 2008. "Error-correction–based cointegration tests for panel data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(2), pages 232-241, June.
    9. Chakraborty, Pinaki, 2011. "Deficit Fundamentalism vs Fiscal Federalism: Implications of 13th Finance Commission's Recommendations," Working Papers 11/81, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    10. Kao, Chihwa, 1999. "Spurious regression and residual-based tests for cointegration in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 1-44, May.
    11. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
    12. Alessandrini, Michele & Fattouh, Bassam & Ferrarini, Benno & Scaramozzino, Pasquale, 2011. "Tariff liberalization and trade specialization: Lessons from India," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 499-513.
    13. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
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    More about this item


    Federal transfers; India; public finance; panel cointegration; panel ECM;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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