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Intergovernmental Transfers and Economic Development: Spatial Panel Data Analysis in Brazilian States

Abstract

Brazilian Fiscal Federalism makes intensive use of mechanisms of inter-jurisdictional transfers as strategies to combat poverty and regional differences, even while recognizing that, if poorly conceived, they can generate or aggravate existing regional demands and create externalities that affect the behavior of economic development of the recipients´ governments. In this sense, this paper aims to assess the effect of intergovernmental transfers from the State Participation Fund (FPE) on the economic development of Brazilian states. To this end, we employed spatial panel data models for the 27 Brazilian federative units from 1997 to 2016. The results show that when spatial dependence is controlled, the spatially lagged FPE has a negative effect on the GDP per capita of the states. This indicates that the criteria for determining the fund transfers must be expanded, considering other factors besides the sole equalization of horizontal imbalances between states.

Keywords:
Intergovernmental transfers; State Participation Fund; economic development; spatial panel

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