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Local Public Finance in Europe

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Local Public Finance in Europe

Balancing the Budget and Controlling Debt

9781840648782 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Bernard Dafflon, former Professor of Public Finance, Centre for Studies in Public Economics, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Publication Date: 2002 ISBN: 978 1 84064 878 2 Extent: 320 pp
Most countries apply some form of restrictions to local government budgeting and borrowing, but in various forms and to varying degrees. These restrictions are considered necessary components of a fiscal federalism involving some sort of central government control in local affairs, a design which can be termed ‘administrative federalism’. In this comprehensive book Bernard Dafflon introduces the reader to the institutional complexities of fiscal controls in European local public finance.

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Most countries apply some form of restrictions to local government budgeting and borrowing, but in various forms and to varying degrees. These restrictions are considered necessary components of a fiscal federalism involving some sort of central government control in local affairs, a design which can be termed ‘administrative federalism’. In this comprehensive book Bernard Dafflon introduces the reader to the institutional complexities of fiscal controls in European local public finance.

The authors comprehensively explore the issues of government budgeting and borrowing, with the ultimate aim of understanding how mechanisms of fiscal discipline are established and function. Ten European countries are scrutinised on the basis of ten key issues including local budgetary policy-making, the policy effects of local budget deficits and public debt, the rules of amortisation and debt instalment, whether extensive fiscal controls promote budget accountability and discipline, and how the Maastricht criteria concerning deficit and debt can be implemented. They go on to highlight the complicated mix of rules, administrative routines and co-operative arrangements through which each country implements their individual budget controls. Although these arrangements have been successful in avoiding serious fiscal imbalance in the last twenty years, the authors argue that their impact on the broader goals of the government sector remains a more contentious question.

This book offers a broad understanding of the rich institutional variations and elaborate fiscal designs in Europe from a comparative perspective. It will be welcomed by political scientists, public sector managers and economists, and scholars, practitioners and advanced students of public policy and fiscal studies.
Critical Acclaim
‘. . . the book contains a good deal of useful information about local government finance in Europe.’
– John Fender, Local Government Studies

‘. . . I would like to thank you for publishing the great book Local Public Finance in Europe. It is a rare source of institutional information and also great insights on the subject.’
– Andrey Timofeev, Georgia State University, US

‘In respect of the hard budget constraint imposed by the stability pact for Maastricht. . . and the fact that European central governments can no longer bail out sub-federal obligations for more than 3% deficit to GNP annually and 60% debt to GDP. . . the volume edited by B. Dafflon is important and highly welcome. . . . Insofar, it represents an interesting and important milestone in the evaluation of the success of local budget rules in European countries.’
– C.A. Schaltegger, Kyklos
Contributors
Contributors: L.-E. Borge, B. Dafflon, G. Färber, A. Fraschini, S. Garbislander, G. Gilbert, A. Guengant, D.-J. Haas, N.J. Mau Pedersen, C. Monasterio-Escudero, J. Rattsø, S. Rossi, J. Suárez-Pandiello, E. Thöni, J. Vanneste, P.A. Watt
Contents
Contents: 1. The Requirement of a Balanced Budget and Borrowing Limits in Local Public Finance: Setting out the Problems 2. The Theory of Subnational Balanced Budget and Debt Control 3. Local Budgeting and Local Borrowing in Austria 4. Local Public Finance in Belgium: Structure, Budgets and Debt 5. Local Government and Debt Financing in Denmark 6. The Public Debt of Local Governments in France 7. Local Government Borrowing in Germany 8. Local Borrowing: The Italian Case 9. Local Government Budgeting and Borrowing: Norway 10. Capital Expenditures and Financing in the Communes in Switzerland 11. Local Government Financing and Borrowing: Spain 12. Local Government Capital Expenditure in England 13. Fiscal Controls in Europe: A Summary Index
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