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A Review of the Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on Economic Efficiency: With Comments on Tax Devolution to Scotland

  • Paul Hallwood

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Ronald MacDonald

    (University of Glasgow)

This paper reviews the existing empirical evidence on tax decentralization ("tax .devolution") from central government to sub-central government. Sub-central government is taken to be levels above the local level: such as within the UK at the level of Scottish government/executive in Edinburgh, and at the provincial government level in Canada or Spain. Our interpretation of the literature is that there is increasing empirical support for the proposition that tax decentralization helps in promoting economic efficiency and economic growth. It is noted that a distinction must be drawn between tax decentralization and spending decentralization. Where tax decentralization follows spending decentralization - as would be the Scottish case, any adverse economic effects emanating from spending decentralization cannot be blamed on tax decentralization. Indeed, as we argue elsewhere, tax decentralization has the potential of correcting any negative economic effects caused by spending decentralization.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-46.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-46
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. Danyang Xie & Heng-fu Zou & Hamid Davoodi, 1999. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in the United States," CEMA Working Papers 109, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Lee, Young & Gordon, Roger H., 2005. "Tax structure and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 1027-1043, June.
  3. Akai, Nobuo & Sakata, Masayo, 2002. "Fiscal decentralization contributes to economic growth: evidence from state-level cross-section data for the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 93-108, July.
  4. Antonis Adam & Manthos Delis & Pantelis Kammas, 2014. "Fiscal decentralization and public sector efficiency: evidence from OECD countries," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 17-49, February.
  5. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1597-1616, September.
  6. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2001. "The Effects of Fiscal Institutions on Public Finance: A Survey of the Empirical Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 617, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. R W Bahl & S Nath, 1986. "Public expenditure decentralization in developing countries," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 4(4), pages 405-418, August.
  8. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
  9. Ulrich Thießen, 2000. "Fiscal Federalism in Western European and Selected Other Countries: Centralization or Decentralization? What Is Better for Economic Growth?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 224, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  10. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1997. "I just ran four million regressions," Economics Working Papers 201, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Philip Grossman, 1989. "Fiscal decentralization and government size: An extension," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(1), pages 63-69, July.
  12. Ronald MacDonald & Paul Hallwood, 2004. "The Economic Case for Fiscal Federalism in Scotland," Working papers 2004-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  13. Josep Lluís Carrion-i-Silvestre & Marta Espasa & Toni Mora, 2008. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in Spain," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(2), pages 194-218, March.
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  15. Raj M. Desai & Lev M. Freinkman & Itzhak Goldberg, 2003. "Fiscal federalism and regional growth : evidence from the Russian Federation in the 1990s," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3138, The World Bank.
  16. Jon H. Fiva, 2006. "New Evidence on the Effect of Fiscal Decentralization on the Size and Composition of Government Spending," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(2), pages 250-280, June.
  17. Stansel, Dean, 2005. "Local decentralization and local economic growth: A cross-sectional examination of US metropolitan areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 55-72, January.
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  19. P Hallwood & R.MacDonald, . "A Restatement of the Case for Fiscal Autonomy (or: The Barnett Formula - a formula for Rake's Progress)," Working Papers 2006_14, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  20. Stegarescu, Dan & Büttner, Thiess & Behnisch, Alexej, 2002. "Public Sector Centralization and Productivity Growth: Reviewing the German Experience," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-03, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  21. Fritz Breuss & Markus Eller, 2004. "The Optimal Decentralisation of Government Activity: Normative Recommendations for the European Constitution," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 27-76, 03.
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