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Fiscal decentralization policies and sub-national government debt in evolving federations

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Abstract

As part of a process of democratization, many countries spanning Europe, Latin Amertica, Africa, and Asia are reorganizing their governments by devolving fiscal responsibility and authority to newly empowered regional and local governments. Although decentralization in each country proceeds differently, a common element tends to be an initially heavy reliance on central government grants to fund regional spending. We develop a theoretical model of regional borrowing decisions in which the incentives for regional borrowing depend crucially on how the regions expect the federal system of finance to evolve. We examine the implications of the model using data on Spanish regions for the period 1984-1995 and find evidence that regions may be borrowing inefficiently in response to incentives imbedded in the Spanish system of fiscal decentralization.

Suggested Citation

  • Teresa Garcia-Milà & Timothy J. Goodspeed & Therese J. McGuire, 2001. "Fiscal decentralization policies and sub-national government debt in evolving federations," Economics Working Papers 549, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:549
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    Cited by:

    1. Teresa Garcia-Milà & Therese J. McGuire, 2007. "Fiscal Decentralization in Spain: An Asymmetric Transition to Democracy," Chapters,in: Fiscal Fragmentation in Decentralized Countries, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2006. "(When) Are Intergovernmental Transfers Used to Bail Out Regional Governments? Evidence from Spain 1986-2001," Working Papers 2006/7, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. Wildasin, David E., 2004. "The Institutions of Federalism: Toward an Analytical Framework," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 247-272, June.
    4. Allers, Maarten & Merkus, Erik, 2013. "Soft budget constraint but no moral hazard? The Dutch local government bailout puzzle," Research Report 13014-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
    5. David Cantarero & Marta Pascual & Roberto Fernandez & María A. García-Valiñas, 2004. "Local government debt: an application to the Spanish case," ERSA conference papers ersa04p282, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Breuillé, Marie-Laure & Madiès, Thierry & Taugourdeau, Emmanuelle, 2010. "Gross versus net equalization scheme in a federation with decentralized leadership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 205-214, September.
    7. Nuria Alcalde Fradejas & Jaime Vallés Giménez, 2002. "El mercado financiero y el racionamiento del crédito. Estudio del caso de los gobiernos regionales en España," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 160(1), pages 77-102, march.
    8. Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
    9. 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.
    10. Luiz de Mello, 2007. "Local Government Finances: The Link between Intergovernmental Transfers and Net Worth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 581, OECD Publishing.
    11. Peter Claeys, 2011. "If you want me to stay, pay," IREA Working Papers 201101, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Feb 2011.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal decentralization; borrowing incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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