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Local Governments in the Wake of Demographic Change: Efficiency and Economies of Scale in German Municipalities

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Listed:
  • Geys, Benny
  • Heinemann, Friedrich
  • Kalb, Alexander

Abstract

German municipalities are expected to suffer from (often significant) population losses in the upcoming decades. We assess these local governments? vulnerability to the fiscal consequences of this demographic decline through two means (using a sample of 1021 municipalities in the state of Baden-Württemberg). First, we consider local government cost efficiency. This indicates that there is a substantial divergence in efficiency despite a homogeneous institutional setting, leaving at least some – mainly smaller – municipalities vulnerable to adverse demographic/financial shocks. Secondly, we estimate the elasticity of local government cost functions to population size. We find that costs rise (fall) underproportionally with population size for small municipalities, whereas this is less the case for larger municipalities. This implies that especially small municipalities are vulnerable to increasing cost pressures under declining population. The overall implication is that large German municipalities (over 10.000 inhabitants) will more easily be able to cope with the expected population decline than smaller ones, supporting a case for boundary reviews or more extensive inter-communal cooperation.

Suggested Citation

  • Geys, Benny & Heinemann, Friedrich & Kalb, Alexander, 2007. "Local Governments in the Wake of Demographic Change: Efficiency and Economies of Scale in German Municipalities," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5695
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/24600/1/dp07036.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kalb, Alexander, 2008. "The Impact of Intergovernmental Grants on Cost Efficiency: Theory and Evidence from German Municipalities," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-051, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. repec:ces:ifodre:v:15:y:2008:i:05:p:s.3-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bischoff, Ivo & Bönisch, Peter & Haug, Peter & Illy, Annette, 2014. "Vertical Grants and Local Public Efficiency," IWH Discussion Papers 1/2013, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    4. Alexander Ebertz & Mandy Kriese & Marcel Thum & Helke Seitz, 2008. "Bewertung von lokalen Standortfaktoren für Haushalte und Unternehmen in Sachsen: Entwicklung von Indikatoren zur Überprüfung der Demographietauglichkeit von Förderprojekten der Sächsischen Aufbaubank:," ifo Dresden Studien, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 46, October.
    5. Geys, Benny & Moesen, Wim, 2008. "Measuring local government technical (in)efficiency: An application and comparison of FDH, DEA and econometric approaches," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-21, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Hirota, Haruaki & Yunoue, Hideo, 2011. "Municipal mergers and special provisions of local council members in Japan," MPRA Paper 37485, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mandy Kriese, 2008. "Effizienzanalyse der sächsischen Gemeinden," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(05), pages 3-13, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demographic change; Efficiency; Local government performance; Stochastic frontier analysis; Economies of scale; Cost elasticity;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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