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Austerity Regimes at the Local Level: Examining Fiscal Effects of Austerity Commissioners Using a Time-Series Synthetic Control Method

  • From a democratic perspective, the replacement of government or parliament by a public manager to enforce budget discipline marks a serious intervention. Transferred to the local level, the replacement of the mayor and the council in three German municipalities by a state official (a so-called state commissioner) in recent years has raised questions about the legi-timacy and adequacy of such a strong interventionist instrument. One crucial answer to be given to this legitimacy issue concerns effectiveness, in other words whether the instrument can fulfill its designated task by improving the local fiscal situation since the fiscal success of the commissioner is a basic prerequisite for legitimacy. By using a time-series approach of the synthetic control method (SCM) and constructing a synthetic comparison case to the town of Altena, an answer regarding the commissioner’s potential to reduce the short-term debt can be given. The commissioner was successful in limiting the debt increase and seems to have reversed the debt trend. This finding supports the effectiveness of rather hierarchical instruments for ensuring fiscal discipline at the local level and thereby adds to broadening the international public management literature on municipal takeovers.

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Author:Steffen Zabler
Parent Title (English):Public Performance & Management Review
Place of publication:Armonk, NY
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2020
Publishing Institution:Deutsche Universität für Verwaltungswissenschaften
Release Date:2021/03/22
Popular scientific document:Nein
Reviewed Document?:Ja
First Page:414
Last Page:432
Documents ordered by chairs:Lehrstuhl für Politikwissenschaft (Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stephan Grohs)
Documents ordered by discipline (DDC classification):300 Sozialwissenschaften / 320 Politik
Licence (German):License LogoUrhG – es gilt deutsches Urheberrecht