IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Fiscal Decentralization on Growth, Inflation, and Inequality in the Americas


  • Antonio N. Bojanic

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)


This paper analyzes the impact of fiscal decentralization on economic growth, the inflation rate, and the GINI coefficient in eleven American countries. The findings suggest that the expected positive impacts of this process have been modest, with revenue decentralization being more effective at preventing inflation, and expenditure decentralization showing greater tendency to positively influence growth. The flipside of these findings is that in the full sample of countries revenue decentralization deters growth while expenditure decentralization seems to foster inflation. With regards to the impact on the GINI coefficient, fiscal decentralization seems to be, at best, a marginal, negative influence on income distribution. The main recommendation is that American nations should pause and analyze the reasons why this process of fiscal devolution of responsibilities has not delivered on its promise of greater growth, price stability, and less income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio N. Bojanic, 2016. "The Impact of Fiscal Decentralization on Growth, Inflation, and Inequality in the Americas," Working Papers 1610, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1610

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First Version, August 2016
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-243, June.
    2. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2014. "The Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on Household Income Inequality: Some Empirical Evidence," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(2), pages 202-222, June.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:04:p:837-857_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Xie, Danyang & Zou, Heng-fu & Davoodi, Hamid, 1999. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 228-239, March.
    5. Beramendi, Pablo, 2003. "Political institutions and income inequality: The case of decentralization," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Institutions, States, Markets SP II 2003-09, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Davoodi, Hamid & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Study," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 244-257, March.
    7. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
    8. Thornton, John, 2007. "Fiscal decentralization and economic growth reconsidered," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 64-70, January.
    9. J Benson Durham, 1999. "Econometrics of Income Distribution: Toward More Comprehensive Specification of Institutional Correlates," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 41(1), pages 43-74, April.
    10. Neyapti, Bilin, 2010. "Fiscal decentralization and deficits: International evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 155-166, June.
    11. Tarkan Cavusoglu & Oguzhan Dincer, 2015. "Does decentralization reduce income inequality? Only in rich states," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 285-306, July.
    12. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
    13. Norman Gemmell & Richard Kneller & Ismael Sanz, 2013. "Fiscal Decentralization And Economic Growth: Spending Versus Revenue Decentralization," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(4), pages 1915-1931, October.
    14. Song, Yang, 2013. "Rising Chinese regional income inequality: The role of fiscal decentralization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 294-309.
    15. Francis Amagoh & Aloysius Ajab Amin, 2012. "An Examination of the Impacts of Fiscal Decentralization on Economic Growth," International Journal of Business Administration, International Journal of Business Administration, Sciedu Press, vol. 3(6), pages 72-81, November.
    16. Weingast, Barry R., 2009. "Second generation fiscal federalism: The implications of fiscal incentives," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Fiscal decentralization; economic growth; inflation; income inequality.;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:tul:wpaper:1610. 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: (Rodrigo Aranda Balcazar). General contact details of provider: .

    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.