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The Efficiency of State Taxes on Mobile Labour Income


  • Petchey, Jeffrey
  • Shapiro, Perry


We model a federation where States levy a tax on the wage income of mobile citizens who shop between States for their preferred tax and public policy package. It is shown that competition between States results in efficient State spending but that the taxes on wage income are inefficient in the sense that mobile taxpayers are allocated inefficiently across States. The implication is that if States tax the wage income of mobile workers, there may be benefits from policy competition (a more competitive federal system) but also costs associated with the inefficiency. The central government can correct for the inefficiency, but this requires a complex system of inter-State transfers that are difficult to implement in practice. Copyright 2000 by The Economic Society of Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Petchey, Jeffrey & Shapiro, Perry, 2000. "The Efficiency of State Taxes on Mobile Labour Income," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 76(234), pages 285-296, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:76:y:2000:i:234:p:285-96

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anping Chen & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2013. "The national and regional effects of fiscal decentralisation in China," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 51(3), pages 731-760, December.
    2. Anping Chen & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2014. "The regional economic effects of a reduction in carbon emissions and an evaluation of offsetting policies in China," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(2), pages 429-453, June.
    3. N. Groenewold & A.J. Hagger, 2008. "Regional Unemployment Disparities: An Evaluation Of Policy Measures ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 355-375, December.
    4. Nicolaas Groenewold & Alfred Hagger, 2007. "The effects of fiscal equalisation in a model with endogenous regional governments: an analysis in a two-region numerical model," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 41(2), pages 353-374, June.
    5. Anping Chen & Nicolaas Groenewold, 2011. "Regional Equality and National Development in China: Is There a Trade‐Off?," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 628-669, December.
    6. Jeff Petchey & Sophia Levtchenkova, 2004. "Fiscal Capacity Equalization and Economic Efficiency," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0415, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. Nicolaas Groenewold & Alfred Hagger, 2007. "Regional Unemployment Disparities: An Evaluation of Policy Measures," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 07-05, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

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