Vertical Grants and Local Public Efficiency. The Inference-disturbing Effect of Fiscal Equalization
Public Finance Review,
The existing empirical literature on the impact of vertical grants on local public-sector efficiency yields mixed results. Given the fact that vertical financial equalization systems often reduce differences in fiscal capacity, we argue that empirical studies based on cross-sectional data may yield a positive relationship between grants and efficiency of public service production even when the underlying causal effect is not. We provide a simple illustrative theoretical model to show the logic of our argument and illustrate its relevance by an empirical case study for the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. We show that our main argument of an inference-disturbing effect applies to those existing studies that are more optimistic about the impact of vertical grants. Finally, we argue that it may disturb the inference drawn from studies in a number of other countries where vertical grants—intended or not—concentrate in fiscally weak municipalities.
Gemeindegröße, Verwaltungsform und Effizienz der kommunalen Leistungserstellung – Das Beispiel Sachsen-Anhalt
Raumforschung und Raumordnung,
Municipality Size, Institutions and Efficiency of Municipal Service Provision: The Case of Saxony-Anhalt: In this contribution we analyze the determinants of the efficiency of municipal service production using the example of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The focus lies on the effects of municipality size, institutional setting and spatial or demographic factors. We perform a robust non-parametric frontier estimation (Convex order-m).The results reveal e.g. no efficiency deficits of municipal associations and a significant impact of demographic factors and settlement structures.
Langfristige Wirkungen des Konjunkturpakets II am Beispiel der sächsischen Kommunen
List Forum für Wirtschafts- und Finanzpolitik,
The article discusses primarily the potential long-term (supply-side) effects of the public investments subsidized by the German „Economic Stimulus Package II“. Considering the allocative aspects, especially the productivity and financing effects of publicly provided capital as well as the factor price effects of investment grants (municipalities are „lured to the concrete“) have to be taken into account. The theoretical problems are supported empirically by the subsidy practice in Saxony and its focus on local consumer goods (sports and leisure facilities) and on not directly economy-related educational facilities (kindergartens, primary schools). From a distributive point of view no interdependence between the financial strength (or weakness) of the municipalities and the amount of their ESPII-grants received could be confirmed empirically. Finally, with respect to the economic short-term stabilization effects of the program a significant increase of the municipal investments – although with a time lag - was found for Saxony.
Effects of “Democratic Control” on the Efficiency of Local Public Enterprises: Empirical Evidence for Water Suppliers in Eastern Germany
Public Finance and Management,
This paper deals with the effects of interference by local governments on the business affairs of publicly owned utilities. A partial model is presented to illustrate the consequences of “democratic control” on the public managers’ effort and the efficiency of local public production. To empirically check the theoretical results, a two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) was carried out on a sample of Eastern German water suppliers. The organizational form is used in the regression analysis to measure the degree of municipal control. The results of the OLS- and Tobit regression indicate an efficiency-enhancing effect on organizational forms with less distinctive control options for local politicians.
The Reform of Local Public Services of General Interest in Europe
Applied Economics Quarterly (Supplement),
The benefits of a reduced supply of local public services may more than outweigh the supposed welfare losses. This was suggested by various theoretical and empirical investigations in many fields of economics during the last decades. Nevertheless, local and national politicians, trade unionists, charities, and other lobbyists have succeeded in preventing further liberalisation of “services of general interest” in Europe. This article examines why these preserve agents have been and are still successful. The analysis is based on an institutional economic approach. Several policy measures and institutional changes are suggested to either reduce influence of preserve agents or to compensate them for their losses.
Diversifikation und regionale Wirtschafts- und Beschäftigungsentwicklung - Eine empirische Analyse für ausgewählte deutsche Gebiete
Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft,
This article analyses the effects of heterogeneous economic structures on the long-term development of regional employment. A simple model is introduced to illustrate the beneficial outcomes for households as well as for enterprises of locating in highly diversified municipalities because risk (volatility of income, recruitment costs in a broader sense) diminishes for both. Econometric results for a sample of municipalities in Lower Saxony provide some evidence for a positive effect of local economic diversification on employment opportunities. The results seem to be not confined to the aggregated local labour demand but also apply to most branches the local business sector.