There is little evidence of either the existence or absence of economies of scope in public services provided by general-purpose local governments. This study uses difference-in-differences (DID) analysis and the event study method to estimate the impact on expenditure of the designation of cities as either core cities or special case cities, thereby giving them the authority to undertake a wider range of activities, and identify the magnitude of the economies of scope in local governments using panel data for Japanese municipalities during the period 1996–2015. The findings of this research are summarized as follows. First, in the provision of public services by general-local governments, economies of scope do not occur in the short term (2–3 years), but do appear in the mid to long term (more than 5 years for core city status). After the delegation of duties, per capita expenditure for core cities increases by 2.8% immediately after the designation, but then decreases by 0.6% annually. Second, the wider the range of extra activities delegated, the greater the economies of scope.
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