Some politicians argue for the splitting and combining of states to increase government productivity, but there is a dearth of empirical evidence on the optimal size of a state. Using data from Indian states, I test a model of the optimal size of the state. I find that size and preference heterogeneity do not significantly affect the productivity of a state government. However, when states are split up, the productivity of the root state's government is negatively affected. This suggests that there may be a readjustment phase after state reorganisation that brings about this negative effect. It is important to consider this effect when redrawing state borders.
India fiscal federalism government quality ethnic heterogeneity state reorganization