Fiscal Competition or Harmonization? Some Reflections

Posted: 7 Mar 2002

See all articles by Wallace E. Oates

Wallace E. Oates

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; Resources for the Future


Economic competition among governments, making use of both fiscal and regulatory policy instruments, is the subject of great concern on both sides of the Atlantic, for fear that it gives rise to a "race to the bottom" resulting in levels of public services that are too low. This paper explores the theoretical and empirical foundations for this claim. The literature is a large, rich, and complex one that, while perhaps inconclusive, provides some valuable insights into the nature of the issue. The case for harmonizing measures to restrain fiscal competition is not wholly compelling; there remains, in fact, a good case for the benefits from such competition.

Suggested Citation

Oates, Wallace, Fiscal Competition or Harmonization? Some Reflections. Available at SSRN:

Wallace Oates (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States
301 405-3496 (Phone)

Resources for the Future

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics