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SINGLE ARTICLE: Exploring Sources of Local Government Technical Inefficiency: Evidence from Flemish Municipalities

PFM, Vol. 9 No. 1, (2009)

The present paper explores sources of technical (in)efficiency of Flemish municipalities in their production of local public goods (in the year 2000). In assessing inefficiency derivation, we focus on socio-economic and political characteristics of the municipalities as potential source. Our main findings indicate that while the socio-economic make-up of the population (i.c. income, income inequality, education and unemployment) appears to bear little relation to local (in)efficiency, the reverse holds for the municipal financial situation (i.c. grants, historical debt and fiscal surplus) as well as population size and density. Also, different types of communities – i.e. agricultural, residential, industrial, touristic or urbanized – are generally found to achieve comparable performance levels in providing ‘core’ public services. While indicative, the limitations of our dataset imply that further work is vital before definitive conclusions (as well as causal inferences) can be made.

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