Fiscal Decentralization and Local Tax Effort
AbstractIn India an important policy initiative has been the devolution of financial responsibilities to village level local governments called the Panchayats. The Preamble to this initiative is two fold. First such devolution would not only lead to increased public expenditure but also such expenditures being targeted in a manner consistent with the preferences and needs of the local population. Second, the local tax base would widen, thereby reducing the magnitude of the equalization transfers. However, the incentive structures behind the granting of such additional financial powers have been inadequately articulated. The results have been in the form of reduction in taxes collected, as well as a perceived shrinking of the tax base. These outcomes are posited by us to be due to ignoring the impact of cost of collecting taxes, as well as perverse impacts of devolution of expenditure decisions on local wages and profits. The extant literature has been so far unable to adequately explain the perverse outcomes of devolution especially where reactions to local tax efforts to transfers from the higher level governments are concerned. This paper has attempted to fill this gap. It models and measures the cost of taxation and uses this and the ratio of transfers that augment the local wage rate to those that do not, after controlling for a number of other village level characteristics, to explain tax collected at the local level within a framework that allows for mutual endogeneity of tax collected and transfers. We find that both the cost of tax collection and the ratio of transfers that augment the local wage rate to those that do not have a significant negative effect on tax collection, thus validating the conclusions of the theoretical model developed in this paper. Several policy conclusions are derived.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre in its series ASARC Working Papers with number 2011-01.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, Building #132, Canberra ACT 0200
Phone: +61 2 6125 4705
Fax: +61 2 6125 5448
Web page: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/acde/asarc/
More information through EDIRC
Devolution; Incentive Effects; Equalizing transfers; Panchayats and Local Government;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2011-03-26 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-03-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-GEO-2011-03-26 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-PBE-2011-03-26 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2011-03-26 (Public Finance)
- NEP-URE-2011-03-26 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bev Dahlby & Neil Warren, 2003. "Fiscal Incentive Effects of the Australian Equalisation System," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(247), pages 434-445, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.