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Citizens‘ support for inter-municipal cooperation: evidence from a survey in the German state of Hesse

Christian Bergholz () and Ivo Bischoff ()
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Christian Bergholz: University of Kassel

MAGKS Papers on Economics from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung)

Abstract: Inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) is promoted as a way in which small, fiscally weak municipalities can cope with intensified interregional competition and demographic change. We provide first evidence on citizens’ support for IMC using survey data from rural Germany. We cover different fields of public services and find the support for IMC to be lower for services where IMC implies intensified interaction with citizens from neighboring municipalities. The main research question asks whether citizens’ support for IMC is larger in municipalities that can – by the logic of normative theory – expect higher net benefits from IMC. The answer is largely negative: While support for IMC decreases in the travel-time to neighboring municipalities, we do not find the support for IMC to be higher among citizens in small and/or fiscally weak municipalities, nor do we find the available of suitable partners to matter. At the same time, citizens’ policy preferences strongly depends on individual-level factors. Believing that IMC reduces citizens’ influence and control reduces the support for IMC substantially. Trust in local politicians and a high degree of emotional attachment to the home municipality reduce citizens’ support for IMC.

Keywords: fiscal federalism; inter-municipal cooperation; voter preferences; survey; Germany (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H77 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-eur
Date: 2016
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