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468 - Fiscal Decentralisation and Fiscal Outcomes

Author(s): Matteo Governatori, David Yim, European Commission

Fiscal Decentralisation and Fiscal Outcomespdf(483 kB) Choose translations of the previous link 

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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

Economic Papers are written by the staff of the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, or by experts working in association with them. The Papers are intended to increase awareness of the technical work being done by staff and to seek comments and suggestions for further analysis. The views expressed are the author’s alone and do not necessarily correspond to those of the European Commission.

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