Government decentralization as a commitment in non-democracies

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8 Scopus citations


In the past several decades, many countries, among them non-democratic, chose to decentralize their governments. One prominent and well researched example is China's decentralization in 1980–1990s. This paper proposes a rationale to account for a voluntary devolution of centralized power by a non-democratic ruler through decentralization. The idea is that decentralization serves as a commitment device to ensure that ex post chosen policies reflect regional preferences, thereby boosting individual productive effort incentives, hence tax revenues used to provide national public goods. Thus, it helps to overcome the holdup problem, enhancing efficiency and possibly benefitting the non-democratic ruler.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Federalism
  • Non-democracies
  • Regional decentralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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