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Choosing between service fees and budget funding to pay for local services: empirical evidence from Spain

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  • Germ� Bel
  • Antonio Miralles

Abstract

In this paper we investigate how local governments finance public services, and their choice between budget funding and flat service fees. On the basis of a simple model of electoral competition we predict that the tax policy will be extreme (either progressive or conservative) only if both the voting majority’s economic interests and the valence point to the same ideological side. If ideological and economic interests diverge, then the equilibrium policy will be a moderate one. From our empirical analysis we find that progressive mayors in progressive constituencies use budget funding to a greater degree, whereas conservative mayors in conservative constituencies prefer flat service fees. When the political affiliation of the mayor and the ideological bias of the constituency diverge, more moderate policies are chosen. We find also that service-specific deficits are lower in cities with private production of solid waste service. Thus policy makers may have used privatization as a means to reduce the political cost of increasing service-specific taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 54-71

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Handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:28:y:2010:i:1:p:54-71

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Klien, 2014. "Corporatization and the Behavior of Public Firms: How Shifting Control Rights Affects Political Interference in Water Prices," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 44(4), pages 393-422, June.
  2. Daniel Albalate & Germà Bel & R. Richard Geddes, 2012. "“The determinants of contractual choice for private involvement in infrastructure projects in the United States”," IREA Working Papers 201220, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Dec 2012.
  3. Santiago Lago-Pe�as, 2005. "Evolving federations and regional public deficits: testing the bailout hypothesis in the Spanish case," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(3), pages 437-453, June.
  4. Nuno Ferreira da Cruz & Pedro Simões & Rui Cunha Marques, 2013. "The hurdles of local governments with PPP contracts in the waste sector," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 31(2), pages 292-307, April.
  5. Benny Geys & Federico Revelli, 2011. "Economic and political foundations of local tax structures: an empirical investigation of the tax mix of Flemish municipalities," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(3), pages 410-427, June.

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