Discussion Papers no. 196

An empirical analysis based on Norwegian data

Fiscal and spending behavior of local governments

This paper treats local governments as utility maximizing agents when they allocate resources among different service sectors. We present estimates for eight service sectors, based on a modified version of the extended linear expenditure system (ELES) and using observations at the municipal level for Norway. Our econometric model recognizes user fees and budget deficits as endogenous variables. Moreover, the model accounts for heterogeneity in local tastes and production costs. Price information for local public services is not available in the data. However, by allowing for heterogeneity in the marginal budget share parameters, we achieve identification of the complete ELES. The empirical results show that local public services are in general price-inelastic. Welfare services like education, social services and care for the elderly and disabled are income-inelastic, while infrastructure is rather income-elastic. A strong flypaper effect is revealed by the response of user fees to income changes. Finally, results from out-of-sample predictions show that the ELES model is able to simulate local government behavior quite well.

Om publikasjonen


Fiscal and spending behavior of local governments. An empirical analysis based on Norwegian data


Rolf Aaberge, Audun Langørgen

Serie og -nummer

Discussion Papers no. 196


Statistics Norway, Research Department


Discussion Papers

Antall sider




Om Discussion Papers

Discussion papers comprise research papers intended for international journals and books. A preprint of a Discussion Paper may be longer and more elaborate than a standard journal article as it may include intermediate calculations, background material etc.