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Using a discontinuous grant rule to identify the effect of grants on local taxes and spending

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Author Info

  • Matz Dahlberg

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden and CESifo)

  • Eva Mörk

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

  • Jørn Rattsø

    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway)

  • Hanna Ågren

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

Abstract

When investigating the effects of federal grants on the behavior of lower-level governments, it is hard to defend the handling of grants as an exogenous factor affecting local governments; federal governments often set grants based on characteristics and performance of local governments. In this paper we make use of a discontinuity in the Swedish grant system in order to estimate the causal effects of general intergovernmental grants on local spending and local tax rates. The formula for the distribution of funds is used as an exclusion restriction in an IV-estimation. We find evidence of crowding-in, where federal grants are shifted to more local spending, but not to reduced local tax rates. Our results thus confirm a flypaper effect for Sweden.

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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 2006-12.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-12

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Keywords: Fiscal federalism; grants; flypaper effect; local taxation; local government expenditure; causal effects;

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References

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  1. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 2000. "An examination of the dynamic behaviour of local governments using GMM bootstrapping methods," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 401-416.
  2. Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 1998. "The Overspending and Flypaper Effects of Fiscal Illusion: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-26, July.
  3. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  4. Gamkhar, Shama & Oates, Wallace E., 1996. "Asymmetries in the Response to Increases and Decreases in Intergovernmental Grants: Some Empirical Findings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 501-12, December.
  5. Bradford, David F & Oates, Wallace E, 1971. "An Analysis of Revenue Sharing in a New Approach to Collective Fiscal Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 416-39, August.
  6. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
  7. Bradford, David F & Oates, Wallace E, 1971. "Towards a Predictive Theory of Intergovernmental Grants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 440-48, May.
  8. Bergstrom, Pal & Dahlberg, Matz & Mork, Eva, 2004. "The effects of grants and wages on municipal labour demand," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 315-334, June.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
  11. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Does Money Matter? Regression-Discontinuity Estimates from Education Finance Reform in Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 8269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Johansson, Eva, 2003. "Intergovernmental grants as a tactical instrument: empirical evidence from Swedish municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 883-915, May.
  13. Gordon, Nora, 2004. "Do federal grants boost school spending? Evidence from Title I," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1771-1792, August.
  14. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 1998. "The revenues-expenditures nexus: panel data evidence from Swedish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(10), pages 1379-1386.
  15. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  16. Becker, Elizabeth, 1996. " The Illusion of Fiscal Illusion: Unsticking the Flypaper Effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(1-2), pages 85-102, January.
  17. Dahlberg, Matz & Lindstrom, Tomas, 1998. "Are Local Governments Governed by Forward Looking Decision Makers?: An Investigation of Spending Patterns in Swedish Municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 254-271, September.
  18. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  19. James R. Hines & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "The Flypaper Effect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 217-226, Fall.
  20. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2002. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 9358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Masayoshi Hayashi & Yohei Kobayashi, 2010. "The Effects of Central Grants on Decentralized Social Programs: Post]2005 School Expense Assistance in Japan," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd09-118, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  2. James R. Hines Jr., 2010. "State Fiscal Policies and Transitory Income Fluctuations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(2 (Fall)), pages 313-350.
  3. Dahlberg, Matz & Lundqvist, Heléne & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Intergovernmental Grants and Bureaucratic Power," Working Paper Series 2008:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  4. Lundqvist, Heléne & Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva, 2010. "Stimulating Local Public Employment: Do General Grants Work?," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2010:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Liang, Che-Yuan, 2008. "Collective Lobbying in Politics: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2008:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Eichler, Stefan & Hofmann, Michael, 2013. "Sovereign default risk and decentralization: Evidence for emerging markets," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 113-134.
  8. Jofre-Monseny, Jordi & Solé-Ollé, Albert, 2012. "Which communities should be afraid of mobility? The effects of agglomeration economies on the sensitivity of employment location to local taxes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 257-268.
  9. Javiera Bravo, 2013. "The Income Effect of Unconditional Grants: A Reduction in the Collection Effort of Municipalities," Documentos de Trabajo 437, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

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