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Do fiscal transfers alleviate business tax competition? Evidence from Germany

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  • Egger, Peter
  • Koethenbuerger, Marko
  • Smart, Michael

Abstract

According to theory, capacity equalization grants cause local governments to internalize the effects of their tax policies on revenues of neighboring jurisdictions and so raise equilibrium tax rates. This paper empirically analyzes the incentive effects of equalizing transfers on business tax policy by exploiting a natural experiment in the state of Lower Saxony which changed its equalization formula as of 1999. We resort to within-state and across-state difference-in-difference estimates to identify the reform effect on municipalities' business tax rates. Confirming the theoretical prediction, the reform had a significant impact on the municipalities' tax policy in the 4Â years after the reform with the effect stabilizing in the fourth to fifth years. The finding is robust to various alternative specifications.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 235-246

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:235-246

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

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Keywords: Fiscal competition Fiscal federalism Equalization Gewerbesteuer;

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References

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  1. Büttner, Thiess, 2005. "The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 37, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  2. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2008. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP26/08, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  4. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2002. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," CESifo Working Paper Series 767, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Bev Dahlby & Neil Warren, 2003. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the Australian Equalisation System," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 434-445, December.
  6. Marko Köthenbürger, 2002. "Tax Competition and Fiscal Equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-408, August.
  7. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  8. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Baretti, Christian & Huber, Bernd & Lichtblau, Karl, 2002. "A Tax on Tax Revenue: The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 20129, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Masayoshi Hayashi & Robin Boadway, 2001. "An empirical analysis of intergovernmental tax interaction: the case of business income taxes in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 481-503, May.
  12. Michael Smart, 2007. "Raising taxes through equalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1188-1212, November.
  13. Markus Froelich, 2002. "Programme Evaluation with Multiple Treatments," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  14. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
  15. James J. Heckman, 1977. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," NBER Working Papers 0177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Christian Baretti & Bernd Huber & Karl Lichtblau, 2002. "A Tax on Tax Revenue: The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(6), pages 631-649, November.
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