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Fiscal centralisation in a federal state: the South African case


  • Estian Calitz

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Hassan Essop

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)


The paper seeks to determine whether the observation from a constitutional law and public administration perspective, namely that a distinct centralist tendency has become evident in South Africa in recent years, is borne out by fiscal analysis as well. An overview of key legislative, policy and operational changes is combined with an investigation of fiscal trends in terms of indicators of intergovernmental fiscal relations. It is established that the South African fiscal scene has over many decades been characterised by a steady and gradual reduction of the fiscal autonomy of sub-national governments. Fiscally South Africa has become more centralised, thus strengthening the de facto erosion of the federal state.

Suggested Citation

  • Estian Calitz & Hassan Essop, 2012. "Fiscal centralisation in a federal state: the South African case," Working Papers 10/2012, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers162

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    More about this item


    Structure of government; intergovernmental fiscal relations; fiscal decentralisation; fiscal centralisation; public economics; sub-national government; local government; local fiscal autonomy; intergovernmental fiscal relations in South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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