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Elements for an economic assessment of intermediate territorial levels of government in European countries

  • Miguel Roig-Alonso

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    Intermediate territorial levels of government in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain are quite different regarding their basic institutions, devolved powers, revenue and public expenditure systems, public revenue equalization mechanisms, accountability, public performance management, financial control bodies, etc. In spite of the complexity derived from these different characteristics, the economic operation of such intermediate territorial levels of government can be analyzed, evaluated and compared from both the efficiency and equity viewpoints. >From the theory of fiscal federalism and the analysis and comparisons of the institutional and organization aspects, constitutions and basic laws, budgets, public accounts, etc. of such countries, and taking the European Union integration process into account - with present and future repercussions on powers of central and sub-central territorial levels of government of member countries -, this paper aims: first, to identify the main inefficiency and equity problems posed by each of the different sub-systems for financing the intermediate territorial levels of territorial government in these four countries; second, to present some criteria and useful indicators for assessing the economic operation of such levels of government in a simple, significant and standardized way; third, to advance estimates concerning some economic indicators; fourth, to draw up some conclusions for improving economic efficiency in the allocation of public resources among levels of government and inter-territorial equity. The methodology, solutions and reforms proposed are of general interest for other European countries planning to create or develop their own intermediate territorial levels of government. Keywords: fiscal federalism, intermediate governments.

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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu-wien.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa98/papers/57.pdf
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    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa98p57.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1998
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa98p57
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    1. Alesina, Alberto F & Tabellini, Guido, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," CEPR Discussion Papers 269, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521233293 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Becker, Gary S., 1985. "Public policies, pressure groups, and dead weight costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 329-347, December.
    4. Pommerehne, Werner W & Schneider, Friedrich, 1978. "Fiscal Illusion, Political Institutions, and Local Public Spending," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 381-408.
    5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521027922 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
    7. Hamilton, Bruce W., 1983. "The flypaper effect and other anomalies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 347-361, December.
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