Common pool effects and local public debt in amalgamated municipalities

“This paper investigates whether the large scale municipal amalgamations in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg in the early 1970s led to considerable common pool exploitation. Through amalgamation the resources of several municipalities are pooled together disclosing the former independent municipalities a larger source of funds. Additionally, the pooling also decreases the cost of local public goods, as those have to be borne by the whole of the amalgamated municipality.

By exploiting the huge variance in the amalgamation process in terms of number of participating municipalities, but also in municipality size or amalgamation strategy, we identify considerable common pool effects. Amalgamated municipalities show considerably stronger acceleration in debt accumulation compared to non-amalgamating municipalities. This common pool exploitation is stronger if more municipalities participate and when municipalities amalgamate by annexation.”

Published in Public Choice | Benedikt Fritz | 2020,,