This article analyses the link between fiscal balance and political fragmentation. While a large body of literature states that political fragmentation leads to fiscal deficits, others suggest that political fragmentation is associated with political competition, which tends to improve fiscal balance. These hypotheses are tested using budgetary and political data of municipalities in Israel for the years 1998–2006. The results suggest that both hypotheses may be correct, depending on voting behaviour. In Arab municipalities, where residents vote according to clan affiliation, low levels of political fragmentation are associated with large debts. On the contrary, in Jewish municipalities, low levels of political fragmentation are associated with small debts, since in these cases, coalition formation requires less spending and is easier to sustain.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.
- Political fragmentation
- fiscal balance
- local governments
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science