2007 volume 39(12) pages 3008 – 3027
doi:10.1068/a38254

Cite as:
Ferguson L, Learmonth D, McGregor P G, Swales J K, Turner K, 2007, "The impact of the Barnett formula on the Scottish economy: endogenous population and variable formula proportions" Environment and Planning A 39(12) 3008 – 3027

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The impact of the Barnett formula on the Scottish economy: endogenous population and variable formula proportions

Linda Ferguson, David Learmonth, Peter G McGregor, J Kim Swales, Karen Turner

Received 1 July 2005; in revised form 1 March 2006; published online 20 July 2007

Abstract. The Barnett formula is the official basis upon which increments to public funds are allocated to the devolved regions of the UK for those parts of the budget that are administered locally. There is considerable controversy surrounding the implications of its strict application for the relevant regions. The existing literature focuses primarily on the equity of the spatial changes to government per capita expenditure that would accompany such a change. In contrast, in this paper we attempt to quantify the system-wide economic consequences—the real, relative resource squeeze that accompanies the financial relative squeeze—on one devolved region, Scotland. The analysis uses a multisectoral regional computable general equilibrium modelling approach. We highlight the importance of population endogeneity, particularly since the population proportions used in the formula are now regularly updated.

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