Analyzing political and systemic determinants of financial risk in local governments
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Universitatea Babes Bolyai
Default riskLocal governmentsPolitical factorsSystemic factors
Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, No. 59 E/2020, pp. 104-123 [doi:10.24193/tras.59E.6]
Studies have shown that political variables can infl uence the volume of government debt and have recommended investigating the joint effects of diverse factors on the risk of local government default. Considering the relation between economic management and political constraints, this paper examines the joint infl uence of political and systemic factors on the risk of loan default by Spanish local governments. To do so, we analyze 148 city councils for the period 2006-2011, using a logit model with panel data and an artifi cial neural network. The empirical results indicate that the fi nancial risk of local governments is affected both by political factors specifi c to each case and, simultaneously, by systemic variables for the country. Specifi cally, political variables such as the mayor not having economics-related university studies, the under-representation of female councilors in the municipal corporation, municipal government by a party with a progressive ideology, and ideological alignment between the municipal and the regional government are all associated with greater fi nancial risk. Moreover, rising national unemployment, an increased sovereign risk premium, the impact of the electoral cycle, and that of declining economic growth are all factors that may increase the risk of default. The fi ndings presented are of great potential interest for governments, managers, national and international fi scal authorities, fi nancial regulators, and citizens at large, because an understanding of the signifi cance of these variables can help authorities make appropriate decisions to prevent and/or overcome problems related to municipal insolvency.