Author ORCID Identifier

Roy Bahl:

Sally Wallace:

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The impact of fiscal decentralization on equalization between regions has received significant attention but there has been much less research of the impact of decentralization on equalization within regions. Theory suggests that the tradeoff between local fiscal autonomy and equalization ought to be most pronounced at the sub-region level where rural-urban disparities in the level of development are substantial. This paper is an empirical analysis of the impact of fiscal decentralization on equalization within one Russian region, Leningrad (State). We show that the regional government uses a mixture of fiscal instruments to strike a balance between giving more budgetary autonomy to local governments and eliminating the disparities among them. We also develop a method for studying this tradeoff between decentralization and equalization when only limited data are available. Finally, we argue and demonstrate that without a detailed understanding of the institutional arrangement for intergovernmental fiscal relations, one cannot evaluate the equalization or decentralization implications.


Published in Bahl, Roy W. and Sally Wallace. Fiscal Decentralization and Fiscal Equalization within Regions: The Case of Russia. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 18(1): 27-58, 2006.

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