The Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on Publicly Provided Services and Labor Markets
73 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2019 Last revised: 27 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 6, 2022
This paper studies how fiscal decentralization affects labor supply. It explores a 1993 reform that increased the fiscal autonomy of Italian municipalities by replacing government transfers with revenues from a local property tax. Our identification leverages cross-municipal variation in the degree of decentralization that stems from differences in the average age of buildings caused by bombings during WWII. Decentralization expanded municipal services, such as nursery schools. These effects are larger in areas with greater political competition. The paper then investigates how the reform affected labor markets. Decentralization increased female labor supply—probably through expanded availability of nursery schools—thereby reducing the gender gap in employment.
Keywords: fiscal decentralization, female labor supply, childcare, nursery schools, local property tax
JEL Classification: H71, H75, J20, H77, I21
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