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Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities

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  • Goeminne, Stijn
  • Geys, Benny
  • Smolders, Carine

Abstract

The level of revenues pocketed by a government during the fiscal year often deviates from that projected by this government in its budget. Despite a flourishing literature on, for example, the technical or procedural determinants of such forecast errors, little is yet known about how political stratagems may affect forecast errors. In the present paper, we analyse whether differences in the level of government fragmentation are useful in explaining local government tax revenue forecast errors – controlling for various other factors. Using data on 242 Flemish municipalities for the period 1992-2002, we find that two-party governments are more optimistic than single-party governments. In contrast to our initial expectations, governments with at least three parties are significantly more careful (or less optimistic) in their revenue projections than single- or twoparty governments. -- Die Einnahmen einer Regierung während eines Steuerjahres weichen oft von den vorherigen Budgetkalkulationen dieser Regierung ab. Diese Prognosefehler sind zwar schon bezüglich ihres technischen und institutionellen Kontextes empirisch erforscht worden, allerdings fehlt es bisher an Kenntnissen, was den Effekt politischer Variablen betrifft. In der vorliegenden Veröffentlichung wird untersucht, ob die politische Fragmentierung der lokalen Regierungen einen wichtigen Faktor zur Erklärung von Prognosefehlern darstellt, dabei immer kontrollierend für verschiedene andere Elemente. Unsere empirische Analyse von 242 der 308 flämischen Gemeinden im Zeitraum 1992-2002 zeigt erstens, dass Regierungen mit zwei Parteien eher optimistisch ihr Budget planen. Sie setzen mehr Einnahmen voraus, als sie während des Steuerjahres bekommen. Im Gegensatz zu unserer Hypothese zeigt die Analyse aber auch, dass ab 3 Parteien in einer Regierung die Überschätzung der Einnahmen geringer wird.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance with number SP II 2007-03.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200703

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Keywords: Revenue projections; forecast accuracy; local taxation; Flemish municipalities; government fragmentation;

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Cited by:
  1. Geys, Benny, 2006. "Looking across borders: A test of spatial policy interdependence using local government efficiency ratings," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 443-462, November.
  2. Cuadrado-Ballesteros, Beatriz & García-Sánchez, Isabel-María & Prado-Lorenzo, José-Manuel, 2013. "Effect of modes of public services delivery on the efficiency of local governments: A two-stage approach," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 23-35.
  3. Geys Benny & Revelli Federico, 2009. "Decentralization, competition and the local tax mix: Evidence from Flanders," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.
  4. Werck, Kristien & Heyndels, Bruno & Geys, Benny, 2007. "The impact of central places on spatial spending patterns: evidence from Flemish local government cultural expenditures," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2007-10, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  5. B. Buylen & J. Christiaens, 2012. "Why do some party leaders in Flemish municipal councils get more acquainted with New Public Management principles than others ? An investigation into the impact of their individual characteristics," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/821, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. Florian Chatagny & Nils Soguel, 2012. "The effect of tax revenue budgeting errors on fiscal balance: evidence from the Swiss cantons," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 319-337, June.
  7. B. Buylen & J. Christiaens, 2013. "Politics by numbers? An exploration of councillors’ apparent use of financial information during the budget discussion in Flemish municipal councils," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/841, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  8. Benny Geys & Federico Revelli, 2011. "Economic and political foundations of local tax structures: an empirical investigation of the tax mix of Flemish municipalities," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(3), pages 410-427, June.

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