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Transnational regulatory networks play important roles in multi-level regulatory regimes, as e.g, the European Union. In this paper we analyze the role of regulatory networks from the perspective of the economic theory of legal federalism. Often sophisticated intermediate institutional solutions between pure centralisation and pure decentralisation can help to solve complex trade off problems between the benefits and problems of centralised and decentralised solutions.

Politikwissenschaft

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The theoretical literature on fiscal federalism has identified several channels through which government decentralization could affect economic growth. Much of the literature focuses on the efficiency aspects of a decentralized provision of public services, but decentralization may also increase growth by raising the ability of the political system to innovate and carry out reforms. In contrast, some authors argue that decentralization increases corruption and government inefficiency, and thus may diminish growth. Given this theoretical ambiguity, several studies have attempted to identify the effect of decentralization on economic growth empirically over the last two decades. We review and conduct a meta-analysis of this empirical literature. Based on our analysis, we point out open questions and discuss possible ways to answer them.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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Formal fiscal rules have been introduced in many countries throughout the world. While most studies focus on the intra-jurisdictional effects of fiscal rules, vertical effects on the finances of other levels of government have yet to be explored thoroughly. This paper investigates the influence of Swiss cantonal debt brakes on municipal finances during the years 1980‐2011 by examining aggregated and disaggregated local data. A Difference‐in‐Differences estimation (two‐way fixed effects) provides little evidence that budget constraints at the cantonal level affect average municipal finances and fiscal decentralization.

Philosophie

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Angesichts der zunehmenden Pluralisierung unserer Gesellschaften wandelt sich der Status der Religionen. Das Verhältnis zwischen religiösen Überzeugungen – nicht zuletzt aufgrund ihrer «neuen Sichtbarkeit» – und säkularen Staaten muss daher neu bedacht werden. Zwischen den verschiedenen Religionen oder Konfessionen einerseits und dem demokratischen Rechtsstaat sowie einer Öffentlichkeit, die sich als liberal versteht, andererseits besteht ein latentes oder sogar offenes Spannungsverhältnis. Die institutionellen Regelungen des Verhältnisses zwischen Staat und Religionen, die in den westlichen Gesellschaften sehr unterschiedliche Gestalt angenommen haben (z.B. französischer Laizismus versus amerikanischen Säkularismus), stehen neu und dringend auf dem Prüfstand.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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Greece and its creditors concluded negotiations over a third bailout by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 August 2015. The dominant view among most economic policy analysts and commentators seems to be that the actions of the Greek government in the months before the deal had been erratic and lacked coordination. In this paper we argue instead that the decisions of the Greek negotiators, including asking the voters to reject the earlier terms demanded by the creditors in a referendum, can be explained by the logic of brinkmanship. We develop a game-theoretic model to show that the actions of the Greek government are consistent with a strategy aimed at securing concessions, which can be used to bolster domestic approval.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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An intense discussion is taking place in international political economy on the influence of economic ideas on institutional change. Case studies so far have, however, mainly focused on the Western industrialised countries and research seems to be biased towards cases in which new ideas caused lasting institutional change. The present paper addresses these two shortcomings by analysing the case of the Russian Stabilisation Fund (SF). This case is an example both of the impact of global ideas on a non-Western emerging country and of a ‘near miss’ in the sense that imported neoliberal ideas failed to assert themselves enduringly. Paradoxically, it can be shown how the neoliberally based idea of the SF even contributed to the return to Soviet patterns of industrial policy. The main reason for this, we argue, is that the Fund’s implementation was not preceded by economic and political debates. Accordingly, the imported institution of the SF had to be filled with ideational content after its implementation.

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Ein kritischer Blick auf die Ansätze von Niko Paech und Christian Felber aus Sicht der konstitutionellen Ökonomik, Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Ausschusses für Wirtschaftssysteme und Institutionenökonomik im Verein für Socialpolitik: „Marktwirtschaft im Lichte möglicher Alternativen“, 27.-29. September 2015, Bayreuth.