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Perspectives on the design of intergovernmental fiscal relations

  • Shah, Anwar

The way taxing and spending authorities are delineated and the manner in which intergovernmental transfers are structured in a country have come to be recognized as fundamentally important in the efficient and equitable provision of public services. The objective of this paper is to provide a broad framework in assessing intergovernmental fiscal arrangements in individual countries and also to develop general guidelines in helping developing nations chart their own courses of actions in their reforms. With the major exception of centrally planned economies in transition to market economies, one does not expect that these arrangements will be fully restructured in any developing economy, yet major economic gains may be possible in some countries by simply fine tuning the existing structure of intergovernmental transfers without reassigning expenditure and taxing responsibilities. The paper includes a discussion of the tax and expenditure assignment issues and tax base and revenue sharing mechanisms. The conceptual basis of expenditure assignment is discussed first and any special problems of this nature observed in selected countries are highlighted. The paper is concerned with the theory and practice of intergovernmental transfers and provides a taxonomy of grant programs based on their objectives. It also provides evidence on vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances and an impressionistic view of fiscal arrangements in selected countries.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 726.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1991
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:726
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  1. Brueckner, Jan K., 1979. "Property values, local public expenditure and economic efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 223-245, March.
  2. Shah, Anwar, 1990. "The new fiscal federalism in Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 557, The World Bank.
  3. Anwar M. Chaudry-Shah, 1989. "A Capitalization Approach to Fiscal Incidence at the Local Level," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 65(4), pages 359-375.
  4. Vito Tanzi, 1978. "Inflation, Real Tax Revenue, and the Case for Inflationary Finance: Theory with an Application to Argentina (Inflation, recettes fiscales réelles et avantages du financement inflationniste: théorie ," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(3), pages 417-451, September.
  5. Shah, Anwar, 1992. "Dynamics of Public Infrastructure, Industrial Productivity and Profitability," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 28-36, February.
  6. McGuire, Martin, 1978. "A method for estimating the effect of a subsidy on the receiver's resource constraint: with an application to U.S. local governments 1964-1971," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 25-44, August.
  7. Bomfim, Antulio N. & Shah, Anwar, 1991. "Macroeconomic management and the division of powers in Brazil : perspectives for the nineties," Policy Research Working Paper Series 567, The World Bank.
  8. Chaudry-Shah, Anwar, 1988. " Capitalization and the Theory of Local Public Finance: An Interpretive Essay," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 209-43.
  9. Anwar Shah, 1996. "A Fiscal Need Approach to Equalization," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 22(2), pages 99-115, June.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521518215 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Brueckner, Jan K., 1982. "A test for allocative efficiency in the local public sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 311-331, December.
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