Local governments have borrowed largely from the banking system to finance their deficits instead of responding to the rigors of bond markets. This paper analizes how sub-national governments optimally reallocate the provision of public goods and decide on borrowing, in a model where the banking system faces a soft budget constraint. In contrast with recent literature, sub-national governments allocate a higher (lower) than optimal amount of resources to consumption public goods (infrastructure investment) and overborrow if they expect the banking system to be bailed out. Controls on sub-national borrowing like the golden rule seem to be inefficient to avoid excesive indebtedness at state level.
Fiscal federalism soft budget constraints local public investment sub-national borrowing