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On Fiscal Federalism under Democracy


  • Nobuo Akai

    (Department of Organizational Management, University of Hyogo)

  • Kazuhiko Mikami

    (Department of Applied Economics, University of Hyogo)


In his seminal work on fiscal federalism, Oates (1972) addressed the socalled Decentralization Theorem, which states that, if such factors as scale economies and spillovers are left out of consideration, a decentralized system is always more efficient than a centralized system for the supply of local public goods. Based on his analytical framework, we contrarily show that a centralized system is at times more efficient than a decentralized system under a democratic decision rule (Proposition 2). The key to such a possibility is the interests of minorities that may be sacrificed in each lower district under decentralization. That is, when the majority adopts an extreme policy that is far from minorities' tastes in a lower district under decentralization, if instead a moderate policy which is closer to minorities' tastes were chosen under centralization, then the interests of minorities would be saved. As a result, centralization could attain higher social welfare than decentralization.

Suggested Citation

  • Nobuo Akai & Kazuhiko Mikami, 2005. "On Fiscal Federalism under Democracy," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-313, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  • Handle: RePEc:tky:fseres:2005cf313

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: A Political Economy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
    4. Mikami, Kazuhiko, 1999. "Proxy contests and corporate democracy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 353-371, December.
    5. Nobuo Akai & Toshihiro Ihori, 2002. "Central government subsidies to local public goods," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 227-239, November.
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