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Who do you blame in local finance? An analysis of municipal financing in Italy

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  • Bordignon, Massimo
  • Grembi, Veronica
  • Piazza, Santino

Abstract

We study the effect of introducing a less transparent tax tool for the financing of local governments. A political agency model suggests that politicians with stronger re-electoral incentives would raise more tax revenues and use more the less transparent tax tool to enhance their probability of re-election. This prediction is tested by studying a reform that in 1999 allowed Italian municipalities to partially substitute a more accountable source of tax revenue (the property tax) with a less transparent one (a surcharge on the personal income tax of residents). Exploiting the existence of a term limit for mayors, we use a Difference in Difference approach, to estimate how mayors facing re-electoral concerns reacted to the introduction of the less transparent tax tool compared to mayors facing term limit. We find results in line with theory. We also show that the reduction in the property tax is larger in smaller municipalities and in municipalities with lower level of social capital. The normative implications are then discussed.

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  • Bordignon, Massimo & Grembi, Veronica & Piazza, Santino, 2017. "Who do you blame in local finance? An analysis of municipal financing in Italy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 146-163.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:146-163 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2017.02.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Sandro Brusco & Luca Colombo & Umberto Galmarini, 2010. "Local Governments Tax Autonomy, Lobbying, and Welfare," Department of Economics Working Papers 10-01, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    2. Tiziana Assenza & Domenico Delli Gatti & Jakob Grazzini & Giorgio Ricchiuti, 2016. "Heterogeneous Firms and International Trade: The Role of Productivity and Financial Fragility," CESifo Working Paper Series 5959, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Elenka Brenna & Lara Gitto, 2016. "Financing elderly care in Italy and Europe. Is there a common vision?," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def047, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    4. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael & Glanemann, Nicole, 2011. "Dark Clouds or Silver Linings? Knightian Uncertainty and Climate Change," SIRE Discussion Papers 2011-64, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    5. Grazia Cecere & Nicoletta Corrocher & Maria Luisa Mancusi, 2016. "Financial constraints and public funding for eco-innovation: Empirical evidence on European SMEs," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def046, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    6. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "Genetic Diversity and the Origins of Cultural Fragmentation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 528-533.
    7. Massimo Bordignon & Matteo Gamalerio & Gilberto Turati, 2013. "Decentralization, Vertical Fiscal Imbalance, and Political Selection," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def002, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    8. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael, 2010. "Global Warming And Extreme Events: Rethinking The Timing And Intensity Of Environmental Policy," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-48, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    9. Michele Tettamanzi, 2017. "E Many Pluribus Unum: A Behavioural Macro-Economic Agent Based Model," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def062, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    10. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "H.P. Minsky And Policies To Countervail Crises," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0102, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    11. Bracco, Emanuele & Porcelli, Francesco & Redoano, Michela, 2013. "Political Competition, Tax Salience and Accountability: Theory and Some Evidence from Italy," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 126, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    12. Bertoli, Paola & Grembi, Veronica, 2017. "The political economy of diagnosis-related groups," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 38-47.
    13. repec:ces:ifodic:v:12:y:2014:i:1:p:19108850 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Giuseppe Mastromatteo, 2011. "The Debate on the Crisis: Recent Reappraisals of the Concept of Functional Finance," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Economia e Finanza ief0105, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    15. Paul Smoke, 2013. "Why Theory and Practice are Different: The Gap Between Principles and Reality in Subnational Revenue Systems," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1313, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    16. Paul Smoke, 2014. "Why theory and practice are different: The gap between principles and reality in subnational revenue systems," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 9, pages 287-325 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Matejka, Filip & Tabellini, Guido, 2015. "Electoral Competition with Rationally Inattentive Voters," CEPR Discussion Papers 10888, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. Elena Cottini & Paolo Ghinetti, 2017. "Is it the way you live or the job you have? Health effects of lifestyles and working conditions," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def056, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    19. Maria Ambrosanio & Paolo Balduzzi & Massimo Bordignon, 2014. "Economic crisis and fiscal federalism in Italy," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def016, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    20. Simone Moriconi, 2016. "Taxation, industry integration and production efficiency," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def043, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    21. Simone Moriconi, 2016. "Taxation, Industry Integration and Production Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 6001, CESifo Group Munich.
    22. Maria Ambrosanio & Paolo Balduzzi & Massimo Bordignon, 2014. "Economic crisis and fiscal federalism in Italy," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def016, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    23. Tiziana Assenza & Domenico Delli Gatti & Jakob Grazzini & Giorgio Ricchiuti, 2016. "Heterogeneous Firms and International Trade: The role of productivity and financial fragility," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def042, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal federalism; Tax transparency; Agency model; Property tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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