Central and Local Government Relations in Asia
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Central and Local Government Relations in Asia

Achieving Fiscal Sustainability

Edited by Naoyuki Yoshino and Peter J. Morgan

Sustainable and inclusive growth in emerging Asian economies requires high levels of public investment in areas such as infrastructure, education, health, and social services. The increasing complexity and regional diversity of these investment needs, together with the trend of democratization, has led to fiscal decentralization being implemented in many Asian economies. This book takes stock of some major issues regarding fiscal decentralization, including expenditure and revenue assignments, transfer programs, and sustainability of local government finances, and develops important findings and policy recommendations.
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Chapter 5: How well do subnational borrowing regulations work?

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez and Violeta Vulovic


There are many positive aspects associated with subnational borrowing, including additional funding and promoting intergenerational equity. However, it may also endanger fiscal sustainability and macro stability due to moral hazard and soft budget constraints, making borrowing controls justified and common. This chapter reviews the different types of ex ante and ex post subnational borrowing regulations used in the international experience based on a large panel of developed and developing countries. Each type of regulation has advantages and disadvantages, with varying suitability to a country’s circumstances. It is found that the presence of subnational tax autonomy contributes to an increase in the general government primary balance but not significantly for subnational primary balances. A history of subnational bailouts is associated with lower primary balances, on average, at all levels. The ‘golden rule’ and limits on debt and borrowing appear effective at all levels of government. However, none of the broad types of subnational borrowing regulations seem to have a distinct significant direct effect on the narrow definition of fiscal sustainability at the subnational level.

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