Grant Dependence, Regulation and the Effects of Formula-based Grant Systems on German Local Governments: A Data Report for Saxony-Anhalt
Recent empirical studies have found – seemingly − efficiency-enhancing effects of vertical grants on local public service provision. The main purpose of this paper is to prepare an elaborate theoretical and empirical analysis of these contradictory results. Therefore, it investigates if certain fiscal and institutional conditions (fiscal stress, fiscal rank-preserving vertical grant systems, input- and output regulation), that might help to explain these empirical findings, are characteristic of at least some parts of the local government sector or certain regions. The German state of Saxony-Anhalt is chosen for case study purposes. The main results are: First, the local governments suffer from severe fiscal problems such as high grant dependency, low tax revenues and the prevalent inability to finance investments by own resources. Second, the output- and input-regulation density of certain mandatory municipal services (schools, childcare facilities, fire protection) is high. Finally, the most important vertical grant category for local governments, the formula-based grants (“Schlüsselzuweisungen”), can be described as mainly exogenous, unconditional block grants that in most cases preserve the relative fiscal position of the grant recipients.
Shadow Budgets, Fiscal Illusion and Municipal Spending: The Case of Germany
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper investigates the existence of fiscal illusion in German municipalities with special focus on the revenues from local public enterprises. These shadow budgets tend to increase the misperception of municipal tax prices and seem to have been neglected in the literature. Therefore, an aggregated expenditure function has been estimated for all German independent cities applying an “integrated budget” approach, which means
that revenues and expenditures of the core budget and the local public enterprises are combined to one single municipal budget. The estimation results suggest that a higher relative share of local public enterprise revenues might increase total per capita spending as well as spending for non-obligatory municipal goods and services. Empirical evidence for other sources of fiscal illusion is mixed but some indications for debt illusion, renter illusion or the flypaper effect could be found.
Local Government Control and Efficiency of the Water Industry: An Empirical Analysis of Water Suppliers in East Germany
IWH Discussion Papers,
The paper deals with the effects of local governments’ interference with business affairs of publicly owned utilities. A partial model is presented to illustrate the consequences of “democratic control” for the public managers’ effort and the efficiency of local public production. To check the theoretical results empirically, a two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) is carried out for a sample of East German water suppliers. The organisational form is used as a measure for the degree of municipal control. The results of the OLS- and Tobit regression indicate an efficiency-enhancing effect of organisational forms with less distinctive control options for local politicians.