Daniel Besendorfer - Sustainable Federalism

Theory and Applications

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When it comes to sustainability, most people, particularly in Europe, think of an environmental concept to conserve access to natural resources for our offspring. Rooted in forestry, any concept would be called sustainable that ensures long-term use of a certain resource without exploiting its stock. The United Nations’ environmental summit of Rio de Janeiro in 1991 further manifested sustainability as a purely environmental concept. Sustainable development was defined as a policy that ensures long-term growth without harming future generations’ access to environmental resources. However, one should note that access to resources is not only limited by environmental constraints, and resources themselves are not solely natural ones. Instead, resources should be seen as the sum of potential long-term wealth that can be used by individuals. Under this definition it is clear that the government, due to its power to enforce long-term legislation, might be able to influence the distribution of life-cycle resources for human beings within and across generations. The most prominent example for such a legislation is probably pay-as-you-go financed social security: Contributions are paid by the young who themselves trust the power of the government to enforce later contributions to pay for their own oldage income. Therefore it is also necessary to evaluate the long-term fiscal stance of the economy, which, for the remainder of this study, will be called the stance of fiscal sustainability. The only exception might be an economy where the concept of Ricardian equivalence is valid. This concept provides for dynastic and infinitely living families that eliminate any government’s action by a private transfer into the opposite direction in order to stay on their once chosen optimal consumption plan. We do not believe in this concept, but due to its influence in the field of public economics, Ricardian equivalence is presented in more detail within this work as…


Fiskalföderalismus, Fiscal Federalism, Fiskalische Nachhaltigkeit, Generationenbilanzierung, Ratings öffentlicher Anleihen, Fiscal Sustainability, Deutsche Bundesländer, US Bundesstaaten, Volkswirtschaftslehre, Nachhaltigkeit

  • Autor*in
    Daniel Besendorfer
  • Seiten
  • Jahr
    Hamburg 2010
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  • Schriftenreihe
    Schriftenreihe volkswirtschaftliche Forschungsergebnisse
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