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Municipality Size and Efficiency of Local Public Services: Does Size Matter?

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  • Bönisch, Peter
  • Haug, Peter
  • Illy, Annette
  • Schreier, Lukas

Abstract

Similarly to West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s, the eastern part of Germany has experienced a still ongoing process of numerous amalgamations among counties, towns and municipalities since the mid-1990s. The evidence in the economic literature is mixed with regard to the claimed expenditure reductions and efficiency gains from municipal mergers. We therefore analyze the global efficiency of the municipalities in Saxony-Anhalt, for the first time in this context, using a double-bootstrap procedure combining Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and truncated regression. This allows including environmental variables to control for exogenous determinants of municipal efficiency. Our focus thereby is on institutional and fiscal variables. Moreover, the scale efficiency is estimated to find out whether large units are necessary to benefit from scale economies. In contrast to previous studies, we chose the aggregate budget of municipal associations ('Verwaltungsgemeinschaften') as the object of our analysis since important competences of the member municipalities are settled on a joint administrative level. Furthermore, we use a data set that has been carefully adjusted for bookkeeping items and transfers within the communal level. On the 'eve' of a mayor municipal reform, the majority of the municipalities was found to have an approximately scaleefficient size, and centralized organizational forms ('Einheitsgemeinden') showed no efficiency advantage over municipal associations.

Suggested Citation

  • Bönisch, Peter & Haug, Peter & Illy, Annette & Schreier, Lukas, 2011. "Municipality Size and Efficiency of Local Public Services: Does Size Matter?," IWH Discussion Papers 18/2011, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:iwh-18-11
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    Cited by:

    1. Laura Carosi & Giovanna D'Inverno & Letizia Ravagli, 2014. "Global public spending efficiency in Tuscan municipalities," Discussion Papers 2014/175, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Jose M. Cordero & Cristina Polo & Nickolaos G. Tzeremes, 2020. "Evaluating the efficiency of municipalities in the presence of unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 377-390, June.
    3. Giuseppe Liddo & Michele G. Giuranno, 2020. "The political economy of municipal consortia and municipal mergers," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 37(1), pages 105-135, April.
    4. Dino Rizzi & Michele Zanette, 2015. "A Procedure for the Ex-Ante Assessment of Compulsory Municipal Amalgamation Programs," Working Papers 2015:22, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    5. Soukopová Jana & Nemec Juraj & Matějová Lenka & Struk Michal, 2014. "Municipality Size and Local Public Services: Do Economies of Scale Exist ?," NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy, Sciendo, vol. 7(2), pages 151-171, December.
    6. Blesse, Sebastian & Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2013. "Do municipal mergers result in scale economies? Evidence from a German federal state," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 176, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Kristof De Witte, 2016. "Local governments’ efficiency: A systematic literature review – Part II," Working Papers 2016/21, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
    8. Tony Mudrack, 2015. "Wieviel Verwaltung benötigt der Bürger?," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(2), pages 211-240, October.
    9. Baumann, Alexendra & Wohlrabe, Klaus, 2019. "Publikationen von Wirtschaftsforschungsinstituten im deutschsprachigen Raum - Eine bibliometrische Analyse [Publications of Economic Research Insitutes in the German Speaking Area - A bibliometric ," MPRA Paper 92240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Haug, Peter, 2013. "Grant Dependence, Regulation and the Effects of Formula-based Grant Systems on German Local Governments: A Data Report for Saxony-Anhalt," IWH Discussion Papers 2/2013, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    11. D'Inverno, Giovanna & Carosi, Laura & Ravagli, Letizia, 2018. "Global public spending efficiency in Tuscan municipalities," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 102-113.
    12. Cordero, José Manuel & Pedraja-Chaparro, Francisco & Pisaflores, Elsa C. & Polo, Cristina, 2016. "Efficiency assessment of Portuguese municipalities using a conditional nonparametric approach," MPRA Paper 70674, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Kristof De Witte, 2016. "Local governments’ efficiency: A systematic literature review – Part I," Working Papers 2016/20, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficiency; local government; DEA; bootstrap; demographic change; local institutions; Effizienz; Kommunen; DEA; Bootstrap-Verfahren; demographischer Wandel; Verwaltungsform;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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