Structural reform, revenue adequacy and optimal tax assignment in local government

Main Article Content

Lorenzo Robotti
Brian Dollery


A striking feature of local government reform in many Commonwealth countries has been a heavy reliance on structural reform, often in the form of forced local council amalgamation. This paper argues that the long-run success of structural change in local government hinges on several key factors, not least that voluntary rather than compulsory council mergers have a far greater chance of success. A second key ingredient resides in a high degree of local autonomy in both the composition and operation of decentralized governmental functions. A third vital factor lies in ensuring that revenue and tax assignment is sufficient to provide local government with financial autonomy. Finally, adequate powers of taxation need to be accorded to local government and this requires careful consideration of the types of taxes most suited to local government.

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How to Cite
Robotti, L., & Dollery, B. (2009). Structural reform, revenue adequacy and optimal tax assignment in local government. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (3), 51-67.
Research and Evaluation (peer-reviewed)
Author Biographies

Lorenzo Robotti, Università Politecnica delle Marche

Professor, Dipartimento di Economia, Università Politecnica delle Marche and OPERA (Regional Economics Policy Obervatory of Ancona), Italy

Brian Dollery, University of New England

Professor of Economics & Director of the UNE Centre for Local Government, School of Business, Economics and Public Policy, University of New England