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Using a discontinuous grant rule to identify the effect of grants on local taxes and spending

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  • Dahlberg, Matz
  • Mörk, Eva
  • Rattsø, Jørn
  • Ågren, Hanna

Abstract

When investigating the effects of federal grants on the behavior of lower-level governments, it is hard to defend the handling of grants as an exogenous factor. Federal governments often set grants based on characteristics and performance of decentralized governments. In this paper we make use of a discontinuity in the Swedish grant system in order to estimate the causal effects of general intergovernmental grants on local spending and local tax rates. The formula for the distribution of funds is used as an exclusion restriction in an IV-estimation. We find evidence of crowding-in, where federal grants are shifted to more local spending, but not to reduced local tax rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 2320-2335

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:12:p:2320-2335

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Fiscal federalism Grants Local taxation Local government expenditure Causal effects Discontinuity analysis;

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gordon, Nora, 2004. "Do federal grants boost school spending? Evidence from Title I," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1771-1792, August.
  3. Dahlberg, Matz & Lindstrom, Tomas, 1998. "Are Local Governments Governed by Forward Looking Decision Makers?: An Investigation of Spending Patterns in Swedish Municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 254-271, September.
  4. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
  5. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 1997. "An Examination of the Dynamic Behavior of Local Governments Using GMM Bootstrapping Methods," Working Paper Series 1997:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
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  8. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Does Money Matter? Regression-Discontinuity Estimates from Education Finance Reform in Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 8269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Johansson, Eva, 2003. "Intergovernmental grants as a tactical instrument: empirical evidence from Swedish municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 883-915, May.
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  11. Bergstrom, Pal & Dahlberg, Matz & Mork, Eva, 2004. "The effects of grants and wages on municipal labour demand," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 315-334, June.
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  15. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2002. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 9358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Cristian Sepulveda, 2012. "Toward a More General Theory of Revenue Assignments," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1231, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Matz Dahlberg & Heléne Lundqvist Nilsson & Eva Mörk, 2008. "Intergovernmental Grants and Bureaucratic Power," CESifo Working Paper Series 2430, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Jofre-Monseny, Jordi & Solé-Ollé, Albert, 2012. "Which communities should be afraid of mobility? The effects of agglomeration economies on the sensitivity of employment location to local taxes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 257-268.
  4. Javiera Bravo, 2013. "The Income Effect of Unconditional Grants: A Reduction in the Collection Effort of Municipalities," Documentos de Trabajo 437, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  5. Lundqvist, Heléne & Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva, 2010. "Stimulating Local Public Employment: Do General Grants Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 5177, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Liang, Che-Yuan, 2008. "Collective Lobbying in Politics: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2008:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. James R. Hines Jr., 2010. "State Fiscal Policies and Transitory Income Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 313-350.
  8. Masayoshi Hayashi & Yohei Kobayashi, 2010. "The Effects of Central Grants on Decentralized Social Programs: Post]2005 School Expense Assistance in Japan," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-118, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  9. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.

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