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Political Institutions and Federalism: A “Strong” Decentralization Theorem

Raul A. Ponce-Rodriguez (), Charles Hankla, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez () and Eunice Heredia-Ortiz
Additional contact information
Raul A. Ponce-Rodriguez: Department of Economics, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, http://www.uacj.mx
Eunice Heredia-Ortiz: Development Alternatives Inc., DAI, https://www.dai.com/

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Raul Alberto Ponce Rodriguez ()

International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU from International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University

Abstract: In this article, we investigate how differences in the political institutions necessary for implementing decentralization reform may affect the efficiency and welfare properties of decentralization itself. We incorporate insights from political science and economics into a rigorous and formal extension of the influential “decentralization theorem” first developed by Oates in 1972. In our analysis, we go beyond Oates by producing a strong decentralization theorem that identifies the political conditions under which democratic decentralization dominates centralization even in the presence of interjurisdictional spillovers. More specifically, we find that beneficial outcomes for public service delivery will obtain when democratic decentralization (i.e. the creation of popularly elected sub-national governments) is combined with party centralization (i.e. the power of national party leaders to nominate candidates for sub-national office). We also find that the participation rules of primaries, whether closed or open, have important implications for the expected gains from decentralization. Most notably, we find that, when primaries are closed, even Oates’ conventional decentralization theorem does not hold. In summary, our theory shows that political institutions matter considerably in determining the welfare gains of decentralization outcomes.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-pol and nep-ure
Date: 2017-06
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Related works:
Working Paper: Political Institutions and Federalism: A "Strong" Decentralization Theorem (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Political institutions and federalism: a “strong” decentralization theorem (2016) Downloads
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