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Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint

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  • Yingyi Qian
  • Gerard Roland

Abstract

October 1997, (Forthcoming, American Economic Review) The government's incentives to bail out inefficient projects are determined by the tradeoff between political benefits and economic costs, the latter depending on the decentralization of government. Two effects of federalism are derived: First, fiscal competition among local governments under factor mobility increases the opportunity costs of bailout and thus serves as a commitment device (the "competition effect"). Second, monetary centralization, together with fiscal decentralization, induces a conflict of interests and thus may harden budget constraints and reduce inflation (the "checks and balance effect"). Our analysis is used to interpret China's recent experience of transition to a market economy. (JEL E62, E63, H7, L30, P3) Key Words: Soft Budget Constraints, Federalism, Decentralization, Competition, China

Suggested Citation

  • Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, "undated". "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," Working Papers 97045, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:97045
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Soft Budget Constraints; Federalism; Decentralization; Competition; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • L30 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - General
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions

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