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Federalism and Fiscal Transfers: Essays on Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States

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Federalism and Fiscal Transfers is a series of essays by regional experts examining the experience of four other federalist countries -- Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States -- and how they transfer revenues from the federal government to subnational levels of government.

Surprisingly, very little attention has been given in Canada to the ways other federalist countries manage programs similar to Canada?s equalization program. Federalism and Fiscal Transfers is a series of essays by regional experts examining the experience of four other federalist countries -- Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States -- and how they transfer revenues from the federal government to subnational levels of government. The report aims to identify ways Canada could improve its own program of transfers to the provinces.

One common finding is that poorer jurisdictions come to rely on the infusion of federal cash from senior governments. Consequently, they have little incentive to take action to improve their economic position through better policies, something that has also been observed in Canada.

Possible solutions the authors identify are to simplify the transfer programs and give receiving jurisdictions more autonomy in how they use federal transfers, either through block grants or untied transfers.


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