Journal of Economics

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 95–113 | Cite as

Uniformity Requirement and Political Accountability

  • Matthias Wrede


This paper discusses the fundamental hypothesis of policy uniformity under centralized decision making, which underlies Oates' famous decentralization theorem. The theorem has, in more recent times, come under pressure owing to the prediction that local public goods are provided to minimum winning coalitions rather than uniformly. The focus of this paper is on the impact of uniformity rules on political accountability. Using the concept of minimum winning coalitions, it is shown that the power of voters over politicians vanishes if election districts receive different levels of local public goods. However, the setting up of sufficiently strong uniformity rules means that voters regain power. According to Oates' theorem, uniformity is the main disadvantage of centralization but, according to the analysis undertaken in this paper, centralization without uniformity would be even worse.


voting theory electoral accountability centralization uniformity 

JEL Classification

D72 H11 H70 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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