Federalism and government debt: a macro-quantitative analysis

Freitag, Markus; Vatter, Adrian (2004). Federalism and government debt: a macro-quantitative analysis. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft ÖZP, 33(2), pp. 175-189. Facultas.wuv

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This article analyses the relationship between decentralised state structure and the extent of public debt in the Swiss cantons between 1984 and 2000. From a theoretical point of view, federalism can be associated with both, an expansive and a dampening effect on government debt. On the one hand, federal structures have been argued to lead to a reduction of debt due to inherent competition between the member states and the multitude of veto positions which restrict public intervention. On the other hand, federalism has been claimed to contribute to an extension of public debt as it involves expensive functional and organisational duplications as well as costintensive compromise solutions between a large number of actors that operate in an uncoordinated and contradictory way. Our statistical estimations show that the former effect is dominant: public debt tends to be lower in Swiss member states with a more decentralised political structure.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Freitag, Markus and Vatter, Adrian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science








Laura Rosa Vogel

Date Deposited:

07 Aug 2019 11:00

Last Modified:

07 Aug 2019 11:00



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