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From Taxes to Politics, from Politics to Taxes: Evidence of Yardstick Competition in the Italian Municipalities

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  • Ilaria Petrarca

    (IMT Lucca, Lucca Italy)

  • Fabio Padovano

    (University of Rennes I, CREM-CNRS, Condorcet Center)

Abstract

Strategic interaction in local tax setting is motivated with yardstick competition only when the fiscal decision influences the incumbents’ probability of being re-elected. Most of the previous analyses draw conclusions on yardstick competition without estimating this link or failing to find any empirical support for it. This paper, on the contrary, conducts a comprehensive test of yardstick competition on Italian Municipalities during the period 1995-2004. First, a vote popularity function is estimated. The empirical findings verify the economic voting behavior and are robust to alternative empirical specifications of the dependent variable. Then, a spatial tax setting equation is estimated. The results show a pattern of mimicking driven by a positive spatial lag coefficient and a negative spatial error coefficient. Finally, the estimated spatial correlation coefficients in time are used to investigate the dynamics of strategic interaction. The results depict a quasi monotonic pattern of convergence of the coefficients towards the lowest levels of spatial interaction, suggesting that a progressive reduction of the mimicking behavior of the incumbents has taken place.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Condorcet Center for political Economy in its series Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS with number 2011-01-ccr.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2011-01-ccr

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Keywords: Yardstick competition; vote popularity function; spatial panel regression;

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  1. Brueckner, Jan K. & Saavedra, Luz A., 2001. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 203-30, June.
  2. Kapoor, Mudit & Kelejian, Harry H. & Prucha, Ingmar R., 2007. "Panel data models with spatially correlated error components," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 97-130, September.
  3. Maarten Allers & J. Elhorst, 2005. "Tax Mimicking and Yardstick Competition Among Local Governments in the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 493-513, August.
  4. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
  5. Lars P. Feld & Emmanuelle Reulier, 2005. "Strategic Tax Competition in Switzerland: Evidence from a Panel of the Swiss Cantons," CESifo Working Paper Series 1516, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Federico Revelli, 2001. "Spatial patterns in local taxation: tax mimicking or error mimicking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1101-1107.
  7. Baltagi, Badi H. & Song, Seuck Heun & Koh, Won, 2003. "Testing panel data regression models with spatial error correlation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 123-150, November.
  8. Massimo Bordignon & Floriana Cerniglia & Federico Revelli, 2002. "In Search for Yardstick Competition: Property Tax Rates and Electoral Behavior in Italian Cities," CESifo Working Paper Series 644, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Giuseppe Arbia & Roberto Basile & Gianfranco Piras, 2005. "Using Spatial Panel Data in Modelling Regional Growth and Convergence," ISAE Working Papers 55, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  10. Barbara ERMINI & Raffaella SANTOLINI, 2007. "Horizontal Interaction on Local Councils' Expenditures. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 278, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  11. Revelli, Federico, 2002. "Local taxes, national politics and spatial interactions in English district election results," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 281-299, June.
  12. Mutl, Jan & Pfaffermayr, Michael, 2008. "The Spatial Random Effects and the Spatial Fixed Effects Model. The Hausman Test in a Cliff and Ord Panel Model," Economics Series 229, Institute for Advanced Studies.
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