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Voter Involvement, Fiscal Autonomy and Public Sector Efficiency: Evidence from German Municipalities

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

Social and/or political involvement within the population is often argued to enhance public sector performance. The underlying idea is that engagement fosters political awareness and interest and increases the public?s monitoring ability. Still, although extensive voter involvement may put pressure on policy-makers, it might also send a vague message in that diverging objectives are likely to exist in different groups. Furthermore, weak fiscal autonomy can undermine voters? interest in and demand for an efficient production of public services. In our contribution, we test whether and how voter involvement in the political sphere is related to government performance – in terms of its efficiency – using a broad panel of German municipalities. Our results suggest that voter involvement indeed has a positive impact on (technical) efficiency. Crucially, however, this efficiency-enhancing effect of voter involvement is significantly (positively) affected by local governments? fiscal autonomy.

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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 08-024.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:7296
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