Navigation path

468 - Fiscal Decentralisation and Fiscal Outcomes

Matteo Governatori, David Yim, European Commission

Fiscal Decentralisation and Fiscal Outcomespdf(471 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

Summary for non-specialistspdf(19 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 


In recent years, the concern that the behaviour of subnational governments may hinder the achievement of national budgetary targets has been increasingly raised across the EU. In this paper the relationship between fiscal decentralisation and budgetary outcomes of the general government is analysed. Results suggest that fiscal decentralisation is not harmful per se for budgetary discipline, although it is likely to have an adverse effect if predominantly financed by transfers from the central government rather than by subnational taxes and fees. Moreover, borrowing rules applying to subnational governments appear to partly counteract the adverse effect of transfers on fiscal balances. Therefore, policy concerns should not focus on decentralisation as such but rather on a 'bad' design of decentralisation, i.e. one which is not accompanied by subnational financial responsibility.

(European Economy. Economic Papers. 468. November 2012. Brussels. PDF. 50pp. Tab. Graph. Ann. Free.)

KC-AI-12-468-EN-N (online)
ISBN 978-92-79-22989-3 (online)
doi:10.2765/27462 (online)

JEL classification: E62, H62, H71, H72

Additional tools

  • Print version 
  • Decrease text 
  • Increase text