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Fiscal decentralization and the size of the government : an extension with evidence from cross-country data

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  • Ehdaie, Jaber

Abstract

Prior analyses of the relationship between fiscal decentralization and the size of government treat fiscal decentralization as the decentralization of either taxing or spending powers. But decisions about taxation and spending are inseparable. The author corrects this deficiency and analyzes the effect of simultaneous decentralization of taxing and spending powers -"fiscal decentralization"- on the overall size of the public sector using cross-country data. The economic results of his study show that: (a) The simultaneous decentralization of the national government's taxing and spending powers tend to reduce the size of the public sector. (b) The Revenue-sharing arrangements in which decisions about taxation are made by the national government tend to eliminate the constraining effect of the decentralized spending power. What do these findings suggest? Countries, such as economies in transition, that want to reduce the size of the public sector should decentralize both taxing and spending decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehdaie, Jaber, 1994. "Fiscal decentralization and the size of the government : an extension with evidence from cross-country data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1387, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1387
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nelson, Michael A, 1987. "Searching for Leviathan: Comment and Extension," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 198-204, March.
    2. Grossman, Philip J, 1992. "Fiscal Decentralization and Public Sector Size in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(202), pages 240-246, September.
    3. Bird, Richard & Wallich, Christine, 1993. "Fiscal decentralization and intergovernmental relations in transition economics : toward a systematic framework of analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1122, The World Bank.
    4. Brennan, Geoffrey & Buchanan, James M., 1977. "Towards a tax constitution for Leviathan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 255-273, December.
    5. Philip Grossman, 1989. "Fiscal decentralization and government size: An extension," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(1), pages 63-69, July.
    6. Marilyn Young & Michael Reksulak & William F. Shughart, 2001. "The Political Economy of the IRS," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(2), pages 201-220, July.
    7. Philip J. Grossman, 1987. "Federalism and the Size of Government," School of Economics Working Papers 1987-07, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Meloche, Jean-Philippe & Vaillancourt, Francois & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2004. "Decentralization or fiscal autonomy ? What does really matter ? effects on growth and public sector size in European transition countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3254, The World Bank.
    2. Jon H. Fiva, 2005. "New Evidence on Fiscal Decentralization and the Size of Government," CESifo Working Paper Series 1615, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2014. "Fiscal Decentralization - a Survey of the Empirical Literature," MPRA Paper 59889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1597-1616, September.
    5. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Robert McNab, 1997. "Fiscal Decentralization, Economic Growth, and Democratic Governance," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper9707, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    6. Kelly Edmiston, 2000. "Fostering Subnational Autonomy and Accountability in Decentralized Developing Countries: Lessons from the Papua New Guinea Experience," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0005, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. Alfred Wu & Mi Lin, 2012. "Determinants of government size: evidence from China," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 255-270, April.
    8. Jia, Junxue & Guo, Qingwang & Zhang, Jing, 2014. "Fiscal decentralization and local expenditure policy in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 107-122.
    9. Ronald MacDonald & Paul Hallwood, 2004. "The Economic Case for Fiscal Federalism in Scotland," Working papers 2004-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    10. Niklas Potrafke, 2006. "Political Effects on the Allocation of Public Expenditures: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 653, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. Diego Pinilla & Juan de Dios Jiménez & Roberto Montero, 2013. "Dimensión del Estado y descentralización fiscal. Elementos para el debate desde la experiencia reciente de América Latina," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL ROSARIO, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO, June.
    12. Shah, Anwar & Thompson, Theresa, 2004. "Implementing decentralized local governance: a treacherous road with potholes, detours, and road closures," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3353, The World Bank.
    13. Patonov Nikolay Andonov, 2013. "Searching for A Restraint on the European Leviathan," Scientific Annals of Economics and Business, De Gruyter Open, vol. 60(2), pages 1-16, December.

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