Speaker: Diego Prior Jimenez, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
"Spanish provincial councils (“diputaciones provinciales” or simply “diputaciones”) are often under debateand controversy due to their contribution to increase public spending while simultaneously being, accordingto some, sources of inefficiencies, corruption and lack of transparency. However, most often accusations arevoid from rigorous economic analysis. This paper tries to shed some light on the debate by evaluating the wayin which provincial councils impact on local governments’ performance. To do so, we combine a variety ofactivity analysis techniques, which allow comparing the efficiency of different groups of municipalities classifiedaccording to their population size and the degree of cooperation and activity of each provincial council with themunicipalities of its province. We apply our model to a sample of Spanish local governments with populationunder 50,000 for the period 2008-2013. Results suggest that, in general, the existence of a provincial council hasa positive impact on local governments’ performance, especially for the smallest municipalities—up to 20,000inhabitants. However, regarding the degree of cooperation and activity of the provincial councils with themunicipalities of its provinces, our results lead to the conclusion that very active provincial councils are moredetrimental for municipalities’ performance"