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International Symposium on Fiscal Imbalance

Symposium of experts

As a result of the tragic events in New-York on September 11, 2001, the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance had to cancel the International Symposium that was to have been held in Québec City on September 13 and 14, 2001.

The Commission regrets any inconvenience to those who had registered caused by the cancellation of the event on such short notice.

The Program
Speakers' texts

The Program

The Canadian federation is confronted with a major fiscal imbalance: in light of the current occupation of taxation fields, provinces have insufficient revenues to exercise the jurisdictions granted to them under the Constitution, whereas the Federal Government has revenues in excess of what it needs to fund its jurisdictions. Have other federations experienced similar problems? How have these federations

evolved in terms of responsability sharing and in terms of revenue and expenditure levels? Have these federations put in place mechanisms to strike an adequate balance between revenues and expenditures for each order of government? How do they adapt to new needs and new realities? Have emerging trends been noted in the field of intergovernmental financial relations? These are just some of the questions that will be addressed at the International Symposium on Fiscal Imbalance, which will be held in Québec City on September 13 and 14, 2001.

This symposium will bring together experts from various federations, both new and well-established, as well as from non-federal countries that have implemented various decentralization formulas. Some speakers are from government or political circles, whereas others are active in the university research and teaching field. These speakers are associated with a variety of disciplines such as political science, economics, public administration, accounting and law.

During this event, speakers will be asked to present the situation in their country. They will also have the opportunity to exchange views with members of the Commission on Fiscal Imbalance as well as with Symposium participants. The Commission hopes to draw lessons from these foreign experiences, which should help resolve the fiscal imbalance problem confronting Québec.

Speakers' texts

Below are the texts that were to be presented by the speakers invited to the Symposium.


William F. FOX, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Decentralization in the United States: Where has the Country Headed? (56 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. William F. Fox is a full professor at the Economics Department and Director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Mr. Fox is a specialist in fiscal matters and has written numerous articles in this field. He was guest researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and visiting professor at the University of Hawaii. He has served as a consultant on finance, taxation and economic development in several American States and in numerous developing countries, in particular for the World Bank.

Bruce A. WALLIN, Northeastern University, Boston.
Forces Behind Centralization and Decentralization In the United States (61.5 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Bruce A. Wallin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Northeastern University in Boston. He is a specialist in the field of American federalism and intergovernmental relations. He has previously been a professor at the University of Wisconsin, a visiting professor in Japan and a researcher with the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. In 1999, the American Political Science Association awarded him the prize for the best book on urban politics for From Revenue Sharing to Deficit Sharing: General Revenue Sharing
and Cities.


Paul Bernd SPAHN, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt.
Maintaining fiscal equilibrium in a federation: Germany (252 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Paul Bernd Spahn is a professor of Economics at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt-am-Main. An internationally renowned specialist in German fiscal federalism, he has done several studies on this subject. A portion of his current research is devoted to the analysis of the European integration process. As an International Monetary Fund advisor, he has taken part in several missions in developing countries and countries in transition. He has also served as a scientific advisor, in particular for the World Bank and the European Parliament.

Otto BEIERL, Bavarian State Ministry of Finance, Munich.
Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in Germany: (132 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Otto Beierl is Assistant Deputy Minister for Intergovernmental Financial Policies at the Ministry of Finance of Bavaria (Freistaat Bayern).


Bernard DAFFLON, Université de Fribourg.
FISCAL FEDERALISM IN SWITZERLAND: a survey of constitutional issues, budget responsibility and equalisation (378 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Bernard Dafflon is a professor of public finance and public finance management at the University of Fribourg. He is the author of numerous publications describing intergovernmental relations in Switzerland. Since 1994, he has taken on the role of expert for the Council of Europe in the field of decentralization and local public finance. Prior to 1994, he served for thirteen years as department head at the Directorate of the Interior of the Canton of Fribourg, Commune department.

(265 Kb, PDF Format )

Sonja WÄLTI, Université de Lausanne, visiting researcher at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Les équilibres et déséquilibres du système fédéral suisse (190 Kb, PDF Format )
Ms. Sonja Wälti is a guest researcher and an assistant professor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (Georgetown University) in Washington, D.C. Since August 2000, she has been directing comparative research on the impact of federal and decentralized structures in the environmental policy field. At the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, she contributed to several research projects, including one dealing with fiscal policy in federal countries, including Switzerland, Canada, Belgium and Germany. In addition, she served as an elected member in the cantonal parliament of Saint-Gall from 1992 to 1996.


David J. COLLINS, Macquarie University, Sydney.
The 2000 Reform of Intergovernmental Fiscal Arrangements in Australia (257 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. David J. Collins is an associate professor of economics at Macquarie University in Sydney. For several years, he was director of research for the Australian Tax Research Foundation. He chaired the working group that prepared, in 1988 and at the request of the Premier of New South Wales, a detailed report on the taxation system, several of whose recommendations have been applied. He also published a research study describing the recent reform of intergovernmental fiscal arrangements.

Keynote speaker Robert D. EBEL, World Bank Institute, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Robert D. Ebel is Principal Economist at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank Institute) in Washington, D.C. There, he directs training programs in intergovernmental fiscal relations and local financial management offered to developing countries. A specialist in the finances of States and municipalities in the United States, he was director of the United States Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations and director of research for fiscal task forces of several American States. At the World Bank, he coordinated a major multinational initiative on fiscal decentralization in Central Europe and Eastern Europe. Mr. Ebel is also the author of two books entitled Decentralization of the Socialist State (with Richard Bird and Christine Wallich) and The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy (with Joseph Cordes and Jane G. Gravelle)

Marcel GÉRARD, Facultés universitaires catholiques de Mons.
(103 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Marcel Gérard is a professor at the Facultés universitaires catholiques de Mons in Belgium, where he is the person in charge of the Economics and Sociology Department and chairman of the Research Council. He is also a professor at the École supérieure des sciences fiscales and at the École des hautes études commerciales (ICHEC). He is a specialist in public finance and taxation. His research deals, in particular, with the taxation of investment earnings, and fiscal and social competition between jurisdictions that are not equally endowed, and their consequences in terms of the location of businesses, the funding of the State, the distribution of income, and employment. In addition, he has carried out various studies dealing, among other things, with taxation and social security on behalf of the Walloon Region and the European Commission.

Magali VERDONCK, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve.
Les accords du Lambermont :Pourquoi et comment ? (308 Kb, PDF Format )
Ms. Magali Verdonck is a researcher at the Université Catholique de Louvain. She is a specialist in public economics and is particularly interested in fiscal federalism and intergovernmental financial equalization. She has carried out studies on the funding of Belgian federated entities, in particular Brussels. She was a consultant in the political negotiations that led to the recent Saint-Polycarpe Agreement.


Albert SOLÉ, University of Barcelona.
Mr. Albert Solé is a professor at the Department of Public Finance of the University of Barcelona, and a researcher at the Centre for Research on Fiscal Federalism and Regional Economics at the Economic Institute of Barcelona of the same university. In his publications and his work, he examines various aspects of fiscal policy determination in a multilevel system of government, in particular regional and local
financial policy in Spain. At various times, he has been a consultant on these issues for the central government, autonomous communities and local councils.

Pere GALÍ, Catalonian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Barcelona.
Mr. Pere Galí is secretary general for economic promotion at the Ministry of the Economy and Finance of Catalonia. He previously held management positions with a number of Spanish national and multinational companies. He holds an MBA from
Barcelona's School of Management and Business Administration (ESADE).

FRANCE Guy GILBERT, Université Paris X-Nanterre.
Les finances des collectivités décentralisées et les
relations financières entre niveaux de collectivités en France
(271 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. Guy Gilbert is an associate professor of Economics at Université Paris X- Nanterre, where he teaches public economics and public finance. He headed GRALE, a network of some twenty teams of French and foreign researchers working on local governments. Most of his publications deal with the local public economy and local finance, and in particular, taxation and transfers between local governments. He has done several inter-national comparative studies in this field.
ITALY Laura RAIMONDO, Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Rome.
(199 Kb, PDF Format )
Ms. Laura Raimondo is an expert in regional economic policies at the Ministry of Finance of Italy. She is a member of the public investment assessment unit. In this capacity, she coordinates the preparation of the files submitted to the European Structural Fund. Before joining the Ministry, she worked for several years at the World Bank, within the Middle East and North Africa Directorate.
UNITED KINGDOM David HEALD, Aberdeen University.
Decentralization in Some Non-Federal Countries: The Case of the United Kingdom (712 Kb, PDF Format )
Mr. David Heald is professor of Accountancy and director of the Centre for Regional Public Finance at the University of Aberdeen, where he teaches management and public sector accountancy. His research deals, among other things, with public expenditure, public sector accounting and the funding of decentralized governments. He is a recognized expert on the transfer of jurisdictions to the parliaments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. He advises the Treasury Committee and the Scottish Affairs Committee of the House of Commons and has served as a consultant to various organizations around the world.

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