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Local government size and service level provision. Evidence from conditional non-parametric analysis

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Although the local provision of public goods accommodates better to the heterogeneous local preferences and mitigates the fiscal illusion problem, it comes at the cost of potential diseconomies of scale. This paper examines the relationship between municipal size and local service level provision by applying state-of-the-art non-parametric techniques to a unique panel dataset of Flemish data. We measure the service provision level by using an innovative robust conditional ‘Benefit of the Doubt’ model and we estimate its efficiency in relationship with the local expenditures by means of a robust conditional Data Envelopment Analysis model. Overall, the main findings suggest the presence of diseconomies of scale, and provide weak evidence on an optimal size of local public good provision of around 10,000 citizens.
Journal: Socio-Economic Planning Sciences
ISSN: 0038-0121
Volume: 81
Publication year:2022