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Unformatted text preview: le-Ville, a "town-Canton" with only 3 communes in the same urban area, the cantonal layer plays a central role: per
capita public expenditures are much higher (2.33 ×) than the national average; this is also the case with Geneva, another
"town-Canton". A more centralised delivery of public services internalises urban benefit spillovers and reduces coordination and information costs. On the other hand, the Canton of Jura, with 83 (too small ?) communes, has a low
financial capacity. Therefore the Canton stands in for a certain amount of services which cannot be privately sponsored or
paid, and these expenditures weight more on the cantonal less developed economy (Table 1, column 12 compared to
column 13). But no significant inverse correlation can be found between the financial capacity of a canton and the
importance of its per capita public expenditures. Table 2 shows the size and growth of the public sector over the period 1970 to 1998. In 1998, total public expenditures
amounted to 143 459 millions SFr. or 32 per cent of Gross National Product (GNP) (without social security; 39 per cent
with social security insurance). In proportion to GNP, the size of the public sector is still quite low compared to other
countries in Europe. The growth of public expenditures has been relatively important between 1970 and 1980 both in
relative and absolute values. It has continued to grow over the past decade (1980-1990) in absolute amounts, but the
relative share of the total public sector in GNP has remained stable around 26-27 per cent. It has regained in proportion
since the beginning of the nineties, partly because the economic situation has deteriorated and partly because social aid
expenditures and unemployment benefits have increased above average.
♦ The rates of growth of public expenditures for each layer of government followed a different trend over the period. One can
read it in diagonal from column 6 line "Communes" to column 9 line "Cantons" and column 12 line "Confederation".
Between 1970 and 1980, only the average rate of growth for the Communes, at 141 %, was higher than the total average;
between 1980 and 1990, this was the case only for the Cantons; and between 1990 and 1998, for the Confederation. For
the total period, the figures give a creeping centralisation towards both the Cantons and the Confederation (both around
500 per cent, column 13) to the detriment of the Communes, with a total rate of growth of 475 % below average. ♦ The actual shares of the Confederation, the Cantons and the communes in total public expenditures correspond in
aggregate values to 33, 40 and 27 per cent. The repartition has remained stable for the centre, for almost thirty years
around 31 per cent; yet, increasing to a 33 % in the last 8 years. At the cantonal level, the share of total expenditures has
remained around 40 per cent for the last two decades. At the local level, it decreased from 29 to 27 per cent. In difficult time
(1990-1998) a soft trend towards centralisation at the federal level with the Communes loosing we...
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