IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Tax Me, but Spend Wisely? Sources of Public Finance and Government Accountability

Listed author(s):
  • Lucie Gadenne

Existing evidence suggests that extra grant revenues lead to little improvements in public services in developing countries--but would governments spend tax revenues differently? This paper considers a program that invests in the tax capacity of Brazilian municipalities. Using variations in the timing of program uptake, I find that it raises local tax revenues and that the increase in taxes is used to improve both the quantity and quality of municipal education infrastructure. In contrast, increases in grants over which municipalities have the same discretion as taxes have no impact on any measure of local public infrastructure. These results suggest that the way governments are financed matters: governments spend increases in tax revenues more toward expenditures that benefit citizens than increases in grant revenues.

If 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.

File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/app.20150509
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=x5Z7kMy99xWEXRmgf5LrzpAGA-Thcj5-
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=Deu8QUbMXKiNqLawqXWesW2AoAukc1Ea
Download Restriction: no

File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=V9sKzJCvnItzSMqatCp9jP3cDqPnsY9j
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (2017)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 274-314

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:1:p:274-314
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150509
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-applied
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as
in new window


  1. Lucie Gadenne, 2017. "Tax Me, but Spend Wisely? Sources of Public Finance and Government Accountability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 274-314, January.
  2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  3. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
  4. Paul E. Carrillo & M. Shahe Emran & Gabriela Aparicio, 2011. "Taxes, Prisons, and CFOs: The Effects of Increased Punishment on Corporate Tax Compliance in Ecuador," Working Papers 2011-02, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  5. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan & Diana Belo Moreira, 2009. "Corrupting Learning: Evidence from Missing Federal Education Funds in Brazil," Textos para discussão 562, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  6. Gordon, Roger & Li, Wei, 2009. "Tax structures in developing countries: Many puzzles and a possible explanation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 855-866, August.
  7. Áureo de Paula & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2010. "Value-Added Taxes, Chain Effects, and Informality," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 195-221, October.
  8. Benjamin A. Olken & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Informal Taxation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 1-28, October.
  9. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
  10. Weingast, Barry R., 2009. "Second generation fiscal federalism: The implications of fiscal incentives," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293, May.
  11. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  12. Peter H. Lindert, 2003. "Why the Welfare State Looks Like a Free Lunch," NBER Working Papers 9869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
  14. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
  15. Svensson, Jakob, 2000. "Foreign aid and rent-seeking," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 437-461, August.
  16. Lorenzo Casaburi & Ugo Troiano, 2016. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti–Tax Evasion Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(1), pages 273-314.
  17. Bulír, Ales & Hamann, A. Javier, 2008. "Volatility of Development Aid: From the Frying Pan into the Fire?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2048-2066, October.
  18. Francesco Caselli & Guy Michaels, 2013. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 208-238, January.
  19. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
  20. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2008. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil's Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 703-745.
  21. Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina V., 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 337-368, June.
  22. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
  23. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264.
  24. Besley, Timothy & Smart, Michael, 2007. "Fiscal restraints and voter welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 755-773, April.
  25. Fernanda Brollo & Tommaso Nannicini & Roberto Perotti & Guido Tabellini, 2013. "The Political Resource Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1759-1796, August.
  26. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
  27. Litschig, Stephan, 2012. "Are rules-based government programs shielded from special-interest politics? Evidence from revenue-sharing transfers in Brazil," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1047-1060.
  28. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2007. "Inverse probability weighted estimation for general missing data problems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 141(2), pages 1281-1301, December.
  29. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
  30. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1218-1244, September.
  31. Keisuke Hirano & Guido W. Imbens & Geert Ridder, 2003. "Efficient Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Using the Estimated Propensity Score," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(4), pages 1161-1189, 07.
  32. Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Fernando Ferreira & Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "The Value of School Facility Investments: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 215-261.
  33. Stephan Litschig & Yves Zamboni, 2008. "Judicial presence and rent extraction," Economics Working Papers 1143, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 2012.
  34. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
  35. Lucie Gadenne & Monica Singhal, 2014. "Decentralization in Developing Economies," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 581-604, August.
  36. Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2012. "Corruption in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 479-509, July.
  37. Singhal, Monica, 2008. "Special interest groups and the allocation of public funds," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 548-564, April.
  38. Bev Dahlby, 2011. "The marginal cost of public funds and the flypaper effect," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(3), pages 304-321, June.
  39. Moore, Mick, 2007. "How Does Taxation Affect the Quality of Governance?," Working Papers 12795, Institute of Development Studies, International Centre for Tax and Development.
  40. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2011. "Natural Resources: Curse or Blessing?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 366-420, June.
  41. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
  42. Dina Pomeranz, 2015. "No Taxation without Information: Deterrence and Self-Enforcement in the Value Added Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2539-2569, August.
  43. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
  44. Paul Glewwe & Hanan Jacoby, 1994. "Student Achievement and Schooling Choice in Low-Income Countries: Evidence from Ghana," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(3), pages 843-864.
  45. Michael Carlos Best & Anne Brockmeyer & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Johannes Spinnewijn & Mazhar Waseem, 2015. "Production versus Revenue Efficiency with Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(6), pages 1311-1355.
  46. Stephan Litschig & Kevin M. Morrison, 2013. "The Impact of Intergovernmental Transfers on Education Outcomes and Poverty Reduction," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 206-240, October.
  47. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
  48. repec:cup:apsrev:v:107:y:2013:i:04:p:706-725_00 is not listed on IDEAS
  49. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  50. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "Tax Revenues, Development, and the Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization, 1792-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4icc4hr7684, Sciences Po.
  51. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and Corruption: Evidence from U.S. Federal Transfer Programs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(1-2), pages 25-35, October.
  52. Ross, Michael L., 2004. "Does Taxation Lead to Representation?," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 229-249, April.
  53. Leonardo Monasterio, 2013. "O FPM e a Estranha Distribuição da População dos Pequenos Municípios Brasileiros," Discussion Papers 1818, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:1:p:274-314. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.