European Parliament Library

Fiscal Incentive Effects of the German Equalization System, Sven Jari Stehn, Annalisa Fedelino

Does reliance on transfers weaken fiscal discipline and encourage pro-cyclical fiscal policies in recipient subnational governments? Using fiscal reaction functions for a panel of the German Länder, this paper finds a positive answer to both questions. Net-recipient states (Länder, benefiting from the transfer system) have not reduced primary expenditure significantly in response to rising deficits, but have instead relied on vertical transfers from the federal government to ensure debt sustainability. Moreover, they have pursued pro-cyclical policies, particularly by raising expenditures in good times. Net-contributing Länder (paying into the transfer system), in contrast, have ensured fiscal sustainability through spending adjustments; they have also been less pro-cyclical. Panel vector auto-regressions confirm these findings
Table Of Contents
Contents; I. Introduction; II. Fiscal Discipline and Fiscal Transfers: A Difficult Nexus; Figures; 1. Subnational Shares in Total Spending and Revenue, 2006; 2. Comparative Composition of Subnational Revenue; A. Germany's Transfer System; 3. Net Contributing and Net Receiving Länder; 4. Evolution of the Transfer System; B. Potential Implications of Transfers; 5. Debt by Government Level; 6: Länder Debt; III. Framework, Methodology, and Data; A. The Inter-Temporal Budget Constraint; B. Cyclicality; C. Data; IV. Empirical Analysis; Tables; 1. Germany: Descriptive Statistics, 1985-2007
Literary Form
non fiction
Description based upon print version of record
Physical Description
1 online resource (31 p.)
Specific Material Designation
Form Of Item

Library Locations

  • EP Library Strasbourg

    7 Place Adrien Zeller, Allée du Printemps, Strasbourg, F-67070, FR
  • EP Library Luxembourg

    Rue du Fort Thüngen, Luxembourg, L-1313, LU
  • EP Library Brussels

    60 rue Wiertz, Brussels, B-1047, BE