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Yardstick competition in German municipalities

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  • Finken, Jan
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    Abstract

    Does increasing transparency improve fiscal policy behavior of local governments? One way this could take place is via Yardstick Competition between incumbents of neighboring municipalities. This paper contributes to the literature by introducing a simple model which employs probabilistic voting to show the effect of Yardstick Competition on the amount of political rents diverted from the tax revenue. Since additional rents lower the probability of being reelected, the incumbent will reduce equilibrium rents if voters use information on fiscal performance in similar municipalities to evaluate the incumbent's quality. I test this hypothesis on a panel dataset of municipal budget and electoral data in the german state of Northrine-Westphalia. I show evidence for Yardstick Competition in the local business and property tax rates. -- Kann zunehmende Transparenz im kommunalen Budgetprozess die fiskalpolitische Disziplin der politischen Entscheidungsträger verbessern? In dieser Arbeit wird ein positiver Modellrahmen entwickelt, anhand dessen die Wirkungsweise von steigen - der Transparenz auf das Entscheidungsverhalten von Kommunalpolitikern durch den Yardstick Competition Effekt dargestellt werden kann. Politiker reduzieren die Veruntreuung finanzieller Mittel, wenn ihr Verhalten von den Wählern relativ zur Leistung von Politikern in benachbarten Kommunen bewertet wird. Unter Anwendung von Methoden der räumlichen Ökonometrie auf kommunale Haushalts- und Wahldaten der Jahre 1989 bis 2004 wird gezeigt, dass die räumliche Korrelation in den Gewerbe- und Grundsteuerhebesätzen in Nordrhein-Westfalen auf die Existenz von Yardstick Competition zurückzuführen ist.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics in its series FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge with number 09-3.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:uoccpe:093

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    Related research

    Keywords: transparency; local public finance; political economics; spatial econometrics;

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    1. Paul Belleflamme & Jean Hindriks, 2001. "Yardstick Competition and Political Agency Problems," Working Papers 441, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. John Ashworth & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels, 2005. "Government Weakness and Local Public Debt Development in Flemish Municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 395-422, August.
    3. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2006. "Identifying Strategic Interactions in Swedish Local Income Tax Policies," Working Paper Series 2006:22, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. Núria Bosch & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2007. "Yardstick competition and the political costs of raising taxes: An empirical analysis of Spanish municipalities," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 71-92, February.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Michael Kremer & Atif Mian, 2003. "Incentives in Markets, Firms and Governments," NBER Working Papers 9802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    9. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
    10. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2004. "Yardstick competition in intergovernmental relationships: theory and empirical predictions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-333, June.
    11. Bivand, Roger & Szymanski, Stefan, 1997. "Spatial dependence through local yardstick competition:: theory and testing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 257-265, August.
    12. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2003. "In search of yardstick competition: a spatial analysis of Italian municipality property tax setting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 199-217, September.
    13. Roger Congleton, 2007. "Informational limits to democratic public policy: The jury theorem, yardstick competition, and ignorance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 333-352, September.
    14. Büttner, Thiess, 2005. "The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 37, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
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