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Size and soft budget constraints

  • Crivelli, Ernesto
  • Staal, Klaas

There is much evidence against the so-called "too big to fail" hypothesis in the case of bailouts to sub-national governments. We look at a model where districts of different size provide local public goods with positive spillovers. Matching grants of a central government can induce socially-efficient provision, but districts can still exploit the intervening central government by inducing direct financing. We show that the ability of a district to induce a bailout from the central government and district size are negatively correlated.

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Paper provided by Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich in its series Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems with number 172.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:172
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  1. Juan Pablo Nicolini & Josefina Posadas & Juan Sanguinetti & Pablo Sanguinetti & Mariano Tommasi, 2002. "Decentralization, Fiscal Discipline in Sub-National Governments and the Bailout Problem: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3160, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Pettersson-Lidbom, Per & Dahlberg, Matz, 2003. "An Empirical Approach for Evaluating Soft Budget Constraints," Working Paper Series 2003:28, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Jürgen Von Hagen & Massimo Bordignon & Bhajan S. Grewal & Per Peterson & Helmut Seitz & Matz Dahlberg, 2000. "Subnational Government Bailouts in OECD Countries: Four Case Studies," Research Department Publications 3100, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  4. Inman, Robert P, 1995. "How to Have a Fiscal Crisis: Lessons from Philadelphia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 378-83, May.
  5. Seitz, Helmut, 1999. "Subnational government bailouts in Germany," ZEI Working Papers B 20-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  6. Massimo Bordignon, 2000. "Problems of Soft Budget Constraints in Intergovernmental Relationships: The Case of Italy," Research Department Publications 3099, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Eric S. Maskin, 1999. "Recent Theoretical Work on the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 421-425, May.
  8. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, . "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," Working Papers 97045, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  9. Sanguinetti, Pablo & Tommasi, Mariano, 2004. "Intergovernmental transfers and fiscal behavior insurance versus aggregate discipline," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 149-170, January.
  10. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  11. Kornai, Janos, 1986. "The Soft Budget Constraint," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 3-30.
  12. Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
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