‘In early work on federalism, economists and political scientists had rather distinct concerns and approaches. Second-generation theory then offered a more realistic political economy account of incentives in federal systems. This book goes further and explicitly integrates political and economic dimensions. The result is a major advance in our understanding of the political conditions that underpin decentralized service delivery.’
– Joachim Wehner, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
‘This volume by leading scholars, Hankla, Martinez-Vazquez and Ponce Rodríguez, makes a path breaking contribution in advancing our knowledge on decentralized governance by providing a comprehensive theoretical and empirical framework on the impact of political institutions on the provision of local public goods. The volume will hopefully re-invigorate scholarship on the third generation of fiscal federalism i.e. addressing the interaction of political institutions with fiscal and administrative institutions on equity and efficiency of public goods under decentralized governance.’
– Anwar Shah, Brookings Institution, World Bank, Washington, DC, US and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China
'Does fiscal decentralization really work? More to the point, under what specific conditions will decentralization actually deliver the gains that are often attributed to “bringing government closer to the people”? It is this second and fundamental question that Charles R. Hankla, Jorge Martinez-Vazquez and Raúl Alberto Ponce Rodríguez examine in their masterly new treatise. They start with the standard Oates’ “decentralization theorem”, but they recognize the limits of this theorem in real-world political (and economic) environments. So, in a series of chapters that utilize the latest in sophisticated theoretical modeling, they extend the standard framework to incorporate considerations that reflect the key underlying realities of political institutions, especially “democratic decentralization” and “party integration”. Their main conclusion is that democratic decentralization can produce the benefits predicted by Oates, but only when parties are integrated. They then test their framework in several empirical chapters, with results that largely confirm their theory. Their treatise is essential reading for anyone wanting both to understand decentralization and, more importantly, to design real-world institutions that can achieve the gains from decentralization.'
– James Alm, National Tax Association and Tulane University, US