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In Search for Yardstick Competition: Property Tax Rates and Electoral Behavior in Italian Cities

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  • Massimo Bordignon
  • Floriana Cerniglia
  • Federico Revelli

Abstract

Do citizens engage in comparative performance evaluation across local governments? And if they do, how can we disentangle this behavior from other forms of strategic interactions among local governments or simple spatial correlation across neighboring jurisdictions? We use spatial econometrics techniques and the institutional characteristics of the Italian system to test if some theoretically derived predictions of yardstick competition theory are supported by data, estimating to this aim both a tax setting and a popularity equation. The results show that local tax rates are positively auto-correlated among neighboring jurisdictions when the mayors run for re-election, while this correlation is absent where either the mayors face a term limit or where they are backed by an overwhelming majority in the local council. Both results are in clear agreement with yardstick theory. On the other hand, the results of the estimation of the popularity equation are less supportive of the theory, possibly as a result of the difficulty in controlling for public service quality and the simultaneous setting of multiple policy instruments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 644.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_644

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Keywords: local property tax setting; yardstick competition; spatial auto-correlation.;

References

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  1. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2008. "Do countries compete over corporate tax rates?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1210-1235, June.
  2. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "The Debate on the Crisis: Recent Reappraisals of the Concept of Functional Finance," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0105, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  3. Eric Dubois & Sonia Paty, 2010. "Yardstick competition: which neighbours matter?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 433-452, June.
  4. Ilaria Petrarca & Fabio Padovano, 2011. "From Taxes to Politics, from Politics to Taxes: Evidence of Yardstick Competition in the Italian Municipalities," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2011-01-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
  5. Timothy Besley & Michael Smart, 2005. "Fiscal Restraints and Voter Welfare," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 06, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  6. Maria Flavia Ambrosanio & Massimo Bordignon & Floriana Cerniglia, 2008. "Constitutional reforms, fiscal decentralization and regional fiscal flows in Italy," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0084, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  7. Karen Crabb? & Hylke Vandenbussche, 2008. "Are your firm's taxes set in Warsaw? Spatial tax competition in Europe," LICOS Discussion Papers 21608, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
  8. Sandro Brusco & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2010. "Local Governments Tax Autonomy, Lobbying, and Welfare," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0097, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  9. Michela Redoano, 2007. "Fiscal Interactions Among European Countries. Does the EU Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1952, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Angelo Baglioni & Andrea Monticini, 2008. "The intraday interest rate under a liquidity crisis: the case of August 2007," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0083, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  11. Massimo Bordignon, 2007. "Exit and Voice. Yardstick versus Fiscal Competition across Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2069, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Angelo Baglioni, 2006. "Entry into a network industry: consumers’ expectations and firms’ pricing policies," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief69, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
  13. Wallace Oates, 2005. "Toward A Second-Generation Theory of Fiscal Federalism," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 349-373, August.
  14. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "H.P. Minsky And Policies To Countervail Crises," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0102, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).

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