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OECD Economic Studies

OECD Economic Studies is the twice-yearly journal of the OECD Economics Department. It features articles in the area of applied macroeconomics and statistical analysis, generally with an international or cross-country dimension. Articles are derived from work of the Organization’s intergovernmental committees, including areas of work outside the Economics Department’s focus. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal.

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Less than you thought

The fiscal autonomy of sub-central governments

State and local governments in OECD countries have access to various fiscal resources. Discretion over them varies considerably, and so does sub-central governments’ power to shape their budget and to determine outcomes like public sector efficiency, equity in access to public services or the long term fiscal stance. Data on the revenue structure of sub-central governments (SCG) would therefore be helpful. But indicators have long insufficiently reflected the way state and local budgets are funded. The most frequently used indicator is the ratio of SCG to total tax revenue, which is a poor measure for assessing the true autonomy SCGs enjoy. Since the power over fiscal revenue is a critical determinant for government finance, a set of more refined indicators for assessing fiscal autonomy should be established.

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