This paper uses a simple model of fiscal competition between local jurisdictions to analyse the impact of intergovernmental grants on the composition of public spending. We find that a higher degree of redistribution within a system of "fiscal equalisation" coincides with a smaller overall share of spending on productivity-enhancing public inputs. Furthermore, in order to test the theoretical predictions, we carry out an empirical analysis based on a panel of German states. The results are consistent with the theoretical findings and support the existence of an incentive effect of intergovernmental grants on state expenditure policies.


Fiscal competition, Fiscal equalisation, Intergovernmental grants, Public expenditure, Germany