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A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance

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  • Robin Boadway

    (Department of Economics, Queen’s University)

  • Jean-Francois Tremblay

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

Abstract

This paper examines how sequential decision-making by two levels of government can result in vertical fiscal imbalances (VFI). Federal-regional transfers serve to equalize the marginal cost of public funds between regions hit by different shocks. The optimal vertical fiscal gap minimizes the efficiency cost of taxation in the federation as a whole. The analysis shows how the existence of vertical fiscal externalities, leading regional governments to overprovide public goods, can induce the federal government to create a VFI by selecting transfers that differ from the optimal fiscal gap. When the federal government can commit to its policies before regional governments select their level of expenditures, the VFI will generally be negative. In the absence of commitment, the equilibrium transfer is unambiguously larger than the optimal fiscal gap, resulting in a positive VFI. In an intertemporal setting, the VFI has implications for the sharing of debt between the federal and regional governments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations in its series Working Papers with number 2006-04.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-04

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Boadway, Robin & Song, Zhen & Tremblay, Jean-François, 2013. "Non-cooperative pollution control in an inter-jurisdictional setting," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 783-796.
  2. Dahlby, Bev & Rodden, Jonathan & Wilson, Sam, 2009. "A Median Voter Model of the Vertical Fiscal Gap," Working Papers 2009-14, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  3. Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2006. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 1072, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  4. Hikaru Ogawa & David E. Wildasin, 2009. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1206-17, September.
  5. Sotiris Karkalakos & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2007. "A spatial analysis of provincial corporate income tax responses: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(3), pages 782-811, August.
  6. Koethenbuerger, Marko, 2008. "Federal tax-transfer policy and intergovernmental pre-commitment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 16-31, January.
  7. Bev Dahlby & Jonathan Rodden, 2013. "A political economy model of the vertical fiscal gap and vertical fiscal imbalances in a federation," Working Papers 2013/18, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  8. Toshihiro Ihori, 2011. "Overlapping tax revenue, soft budget, and rent seeking," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 36-55, February.
  9. Boadway, Robin & Tremblay, Jean-François, 2012. "Reassessment of the Tiebout model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1063-1078.
  10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Cristian Sepulveda, 2012. "Toward a More General Theory of Revenue Assignments," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1231, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  11. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Fiscal Equalization and Yardstick Competition," Working Papers 2006-15, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  12. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2010. "Beyond Gaps and Imbalances: Re-Structuring the Debate on Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations," MPRA Paper 32145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Marko Köthenbürger, 2006. "Ex-Post Redistribution in a Federation: Implications for Corrective Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1754, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Eyraud, Luc & Lusinyan, Lusine, 2013. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and fiscal performance in advanced economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 571-587.
  15. David Wildasin, 2007. "Pre-Emption: Federal Statutory Intervention in State Taxation," Working Papers 2007-05, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  16. Robin Boadway & Jean-François Tremblay, 2006. "A Theory of Fiscal Imbalance," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(1), pages 1-27, March.
  17. Michael Hofmann & Gerhard Kempkes & Helmut Seitz, 2008. "Demographic Change and Public Sector Budgets in a Federal System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2317, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. C. Rangarajan & D. K. Srivastava, 2008. "Reforming India’s Fiscal Transfer System : Resolving Vertical and Horizontal Imbalances," Finance Working Papers 22509, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.

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