The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper analyzes the efficiency and determinants of local authority expenditure in England during 1989/90. The capitalization of local spending in house prices is used as a test of efficiency, and it is found that local services are in general excessive from this standpoint. The determinants of local government spending are then estimated and local incomes, the tax price faced by the electorate, and local party control are found to be significant. Application of the analysis to the recently introduced local government reforms suggest small effects on the overall level of spending.