Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers and Equalization

  • Nils SoguelEmail author
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


It is extremely rare for Swiss institutions to undergo a revolution. And yet for the last ten years, the financial transfer and equalization system between the federal and cantonal levels have been reformed so much that it can rightly be considered a revolution. Most cantons followed suit and transformed their own systems with their municipalities based on the federal model. This chapter briefly surveys how the systems are organized, and describes their benefits and shortcomings. Switzerland has established rules that guarantee a certain automatism and a regularity to equalization flows. By the same token, no discretionary decisions to grant subsidies to decentralized municipalities are now possible—and there is no way for the wealthiest jurisdictions to ignore those political entities worse off than them. These rules ensure that tax competition between both cantons and municipalities can continue to exist, but within acceptable and accepted limits.


Solidarity Cost compensation Resource equalization Socio-demographic factors Geo-topographical factors 


  1. Dafflon, B. (2012). Les transferts financiers entre collectivités publiques. In A. Ladner, J.-L. Chappelet, Y. Emery, P. Knoepfel, L. Mader, N. Soguel, & F. Varone (Eds.), Manuel d’administration publique suisse (pp. 661–678). Lausanne: PPUR.Google Scholar
  2. Federal Council. (2014). Wirksamkeitsbericht 2012–2015 des Finanzausgleichs zwischen Bund und Kantonen. Bern: Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft.Google Scholar
  3. IMF (International Monetary Fund) Statistics Department. (2014). Government finance statistics manual 2014. Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund.Google Scholar
  4. Kübler, D., & Rochat, P. E. (2016). ‘Tamed Tieboutianism’ and spatial inequalities in Swiss metropolitan areas. In J. M. Sellers, M. Arretche, D. Kübler, & E. Razin (Eds.), Inequality and governance in the metropolis: Place equality regimes and fiscal choices in eleven countries (pp. 107–124). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). (2015). OECD economic surveys: Switzerland 2015. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  6. Rühli, L., Frey, M., & Frey, R. L. (2013). Irrgarten Finanzausgleich. Wege zu mehr Effizienz bei der interkommunalen Solidarität. Zürich: Avenir Suisse.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IDHEAPUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations