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Fiscal Federalism in Germany: Stabilization and Redistribution Before and After Unification

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  • Hepp, Ralf
  • von Hagen, Jürgen

Abstract

We provide empirical estimates of the risk-sharing and redistributive properties of the German federal fiscal system based on data from 1970 until 2006, with special attention to the effects of German unification. We find that tax revenue sharing between the states and the federal government and the fiscal equalization mechanism (Länderfinanzausgleich) together reduce differences in per-capita state incomes by 36.9 percent during period 1970 to 1994. After the full integration of East German states into the mechanism in 1995, the redistributive effects increase slightly to about 38.6 percent. With respect to the insurance effect of the German fiscal system, our results indicate that the federal fiscal system offsets 47 percent of an asymmetric shock to state per-capita incomes. This effect has significantly decreased after the inclusion of the East German states in 1995. Furthermore, we find that the German fiscal system provides almost perfect insurance for state government budgets against asymmetric revenue shocks; also, its redistributive effect with regard to the tax resources available to state governments is very strong.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7246.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7246

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Keywords: Equalization; Fiscal Federalism; Regional Redistribution; Regional Risksharing;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Heinemann, Friedrich & Janeba, Eckhard & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Schröder, Christoph, 2013. "Revenue Autonomy Preference in German State Parliaments," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79736, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. Yongzheng Liu, 2014. "Does Competition for Capital Discipline Governments? The Role of Fiscal Equalization," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1404, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  3. Ralf Hepp & Juergen von Hagen, 2010. "Interstate Risk Sharing in Germany: 1970-2006," Working papers 2010-13, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2013. "On the Decomposition of Regional Stabilization and Redistribution," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-910, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  5. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2012. "Channels of Stabilization in a System of Local Public Health Insurance: The Case of the National Health Insurance in Japan," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-847, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  6. Lago-Peñas, Santiago & Prada, Albino & Vaquero, Alberto, 2013. "On the Size and Determinants of Inter-regional Redistribution in European Countries over the Period 1995-2009," MPRA Paper 45406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Claudia M. Buch, 2012. "From the Stability Pact to ESM - What next?," IAW Discussion Papers 85, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).

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