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Tax Interactions among Belgian Municipalities: Does Language Matter?

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  • Marcel Gérard
  • Hubert Jayet
  • Sonia Paty

Abstract

This paper tests the existence of strategic interactions among municipalities using a panel of Belgian local tax rates from 1985 to 2004. A special emphasis is put on the role of the language spoken in the various municipalities. Our results first confirm previous findings for Belgium suggesting that municipalities interact with each other over the two main local tax rates, the local surcharge on the (labour) income tax rate and the local surcharge on the property tax. Using tools of spatial econometrics and an original methodology for specifying weights matrices, we find out that municipalities are sensitive to tax rates set by their close neighbours only. We also reject the hypothesis that the language does not matter: in the within model and for the local income tax rate, the intensity of interactions is shown to be lower between municipalities speaking different languages than between municipalities speaking the same language. That observation is particularly relevant for today Belgium and might be viewed as a contribution to the ongoing debate on the regionalisation or partial decentralization of some taxes.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2009/wp-cesifo-2009-02/cesifo1_wp2558.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2558.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2558

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Related research

Keywords: tax interactions; panel data; spatial econometrics; local tax rates; tax competition; yardstick competition;

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References

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  1. Anne Case, 1993. "Interstate tax competition after TRA86," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 136-148.
  2. Wildasin, David E., 1988. "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 229-240, March.
  3. Sylvie Charlot & Sonia Paty, 2007. "Market access effect and local tax setting: evidence from French panel data," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 247-263, May.
  4. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2003. "In search of yardstick competition: a spatial analysis of Italian municipality property tax setting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 199-217, September.
  5. SALMON, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralization as an incentive scheme," Institut des Mathématiques Economiques – Document de travail de l’I.M.E. (1974-1993) 98, Institut des Mathématiques Economiques. LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS, Université de Bourgogne.
  6. Sole Olle, Albert, 2003. "Electoral accountability and tax mimicking: the effects of electoral margins, coalition government, and ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 685-713, November.
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  8. Jan K. Brueckner & Luz A. Saavedra, 2000. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0357, Econometric Society.
  9. Federico Revelli, 2005. "On Spatial Public Finance Empirics," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 475-492, August.
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  11. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Helen F. Ladd, 1992. "Mimicking of Local Tax Burdens Among Neighboring Counties," Public Finance Review, , vol. 20(4), pages 450-467, October.
  13. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  14. Lars P. Feld & Emmanuelle Reulier, 2009. "Strategic Tax Competition in Switzerland: Evidence from a Panel of the Swiss Cantons," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 91-114, 02.
  15. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
  16. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
  17. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
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Cited by:
  1. José da Silva Costa & Armindo Cravalho, 2013. "Yardstick Competition among Portuguese Municipalities: The Case of Urban Property Tax (IMI)," FEP Working Papers 495, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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