Filippetti, Cerulli (2019) Are local public services better delivered in more autonomous regions? Evidence from European regions using a dose-response approach

Does regional autonomy lead to better local public services? We investigate this issue using measures of public service performance and autonomy at the region level in 171 European regions. We introduce a novel dose-response approach which identifies the pattern of the effect of regional autonomy on the performance of public services. The relationship between the level of regional autonomy and the provision of local public services exhibits a u-shape: both low and high autonomy lead to better local public services. This speaks against the presence of one optimal level of autonomy and policy recommendations based on the view that more decentralisation is always desirable. It shows that different institutional settings can be economically viable and efficient.

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