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Regional Stabilization by Fiscal Equalization? Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence from Germany

  • Büttner, Thiess

In the context of EMU fiscal equalization schemes have been proposed as a means to stabilize regions against asymmetric shocks. A theoretical analysis shows that besides reducing the cross-sectional income variance the redistributive element of fiscal equalization causes incentive effects for regional governments, undermining the efficient supply of public goods. Yet, this objection is shown to be less important in a situation of insufficient demand, where interregional redistribution actually favors stabilization. In an empirical analysis for Germany, the paper adds support for the finding of significant regional stabilization by fiscal flows. The results indicate that about 17 % of GDP variation across West Germany's states has been removed by fiscal flows during the last two decades. Thus, in Germany where the fiscal federalism is criticised for its heavy equalization the extent of regional stabilization provided by fiscal flows is quite similar to other federal countries.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 99-23.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5511
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  1. Tamim Bayoumi & Barry Eichengreen, 1992. "Shocking Aspects of European Monetary Unification," NBER Working Papers 3949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. von Hagen, Jürgen, 1998. "Fiscal policy and intranational risk-sharing," ZEI Working Papers B 13-1998, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  3. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. von Hagen, Jurgen & Hammond, George W, 1998. "Regional Insurance against Asymmetric Shocks: An Empirical Study for the European Community," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 66(3), pages 331-53, June.
  5. Sachs, Jeffrey & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Burda, Michael C & Mertens, Antje, 1994. "Locational Competition versus Cooperation in Labour Markets: An Implicit Contract Reinterpretation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R., 1995. "Fiscal flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for monetary union in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 253-274, February.
  8. Matsumoto, Mutsumi, 1998. "A note on tax competition and public input provision," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 465-473, July.
  9. Dixon, Huw David & Santoni, Michele, 1997. "Fiscal Policy Coordination with Demand Spillovers and Unionised Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 403-17, March.
  10. Maurice Obstfeld & Giovanni Peri, 1998. "Regional non-adjustment and fiscal policy," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 205-259, 04.
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