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No taxation, no representation: An investigation of the relationship between natural resources and fiscal decentralization

Mohammad Arzaghi and Andrew Balthrop

Environment and Planning C, 2018, vol. 36, issue 7, 1234-1255

Abstract: Rents from natural resources can alter the relationship between central and local governments by providing a new source of government financing. We develop a model to explore the relationship between fiscal decentralization and resource abundance. Our model indicates that natural resource rents can detach central government expenditures from the tax base so that the central government can spend more to persuade a fractious periphery to remain under central government control. Thus, other things being equal, higher natural resource rents can result in less decentralized government expenditures. We empirically explore the relationship between fiscal decentralization and natural resource rents using a panel of 60 countries over the past 40 years. Empirical results support our economic model: A 1% increase in natural resource rents as a fraction of gross domestic product results in government expenditures that are 0.53% less decentralized.

Keywords: Fiscal Decentralization; intergovernmental relations; local public finance; natural resource rents (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1177/2399654417752683

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