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Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition

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  • Besley, Timothy
  • Case, Anne

Abstract

This paper develops a model of the political economy of tax-setting in a multijurisdictional world where voters' choices and incumbent behavior are determined simultaneously. Voters are assumed to make comparisons between jurisdictions to overcome political agency problems. This forces incumbents into a (yardstick) competition in which they care about what other incumbents are doing. The authors provide a theoretical framework and empirical evidence using U.S. state data from 1960 to 1988. The results are encouraging to the view that vote-seeking and tax-setting are tied together through the nexus of yardstick competition. Copyright 1995 by American Economic Association.

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  • Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:85:y:1995:i:1:p:25-45
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    1. Case, Anne C, 1991. "Spatial Patterns in Household Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 953-965, July.
    2. Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1987. "The economics of the local public sector," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 11, pages 571-645 Elsevier.
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    4. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
    5. Epple, Dennis & Zelenitz, Allan, 1981. "The Implications of Competition among Jurisdictions: Does Tiebout Need Politics?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1197-1217, December.
    6. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    7. Henderson, J Vernon, 1985. "The Tiebout Model: Bring Back the Entrepreneurs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 248-264, April.
    8. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas & Filimon, Radu, 1988. "Community development with endogenous land use controls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 133-162, March.
    9. Sundadam, R.K. & Banks, J., 1991. "Adverse Selection and Moral hazard in a Repeated Elections Models," RCER Working Papers 283, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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