Fiscal equalisation and regional development policies

Is there a case for enhanced synergies?

Fiscal equalisation and regional development policies have often been perceived as separate policy fields. As a result, little is known about their potential interactions and implications for economic growth and welfare. This working paper reviews the two policies, explores the potential for enhanced synergies between the two, and proposes a theoretical framework linking them. The latter, which has not been empirically tested yet, posits that if regional development policies are correctly designed and implemented, their success should result in a drop of income disparities. Coupled with good governance practices and a framework that clearly allocates responsibilities among levels of government, more equal jurisdictions would find it easier to provide similar levels of services with comparable tax rates across the country. Therefore, whilst correctly designed and implemented fiscal equalisation policies remain a tool to patch gaps that may occur due to the shifting variety of revenue potential and spending needs of subnational entities, the need and the size of fiscal equalisation transfers could be significantly reduced if regional development policies in place are effective. This working paper concludes with a discussion on the benefits and challenges of enhancing synergies between the two policies, opening the door for future in-depth research.

Published on November 08, 2023

In series:OECD Regional Development Papersview more titles