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Optimal fiscal federalism in the presence of tax competition

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  • Janeba, Eckhard
  • Wilson, John Douglas

Abstract

This paper models the optimal division of public goods provision between central and regional governments in an economy with interregional tax competition. Regional provision is inefficient because governments compete for scarce capital by lowering their capital taxes and public good levels to inefficiently low levels. On the other hand, central provision is inefficient because it is determined by the minimum winning coalition within a legislature. The optimal degree to which public good provision should be decentralized depends on a tradeoff between these inefficiencies. In our main model, complete centralization is never optimal: regional governments should supply some public goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Janeba, Eckhard & Wilson, John Douglas, 2011. "Optimal fiscal federalism in the presence of tax competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1302-1311.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:11:p:1302-1311
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.11.029
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Wilson John Douglas, 1995. "Mobile Labor, Multiple Tax Instruments, and Tax Competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 333-356, November.
    2. Cheikbossian, Guillaume, 2008. "Rent-seeking, spillovers and the benefits of decentralization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 217-228, January.
    3. Ben Lockwood, 2002. "Distributive Politics and the Costs of Centralization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 313-337.
    4. Eckhard Janeba & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Tax Competition Reconsidered: Politicians and Political Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1143-1161, July.
    5. Horst Raff & John Wilson, 1997. "Income Redistribution with Well-Informed Local Governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(4), pages 407-427, November.
    6. Lorz, Oliver & Willmann, Gerald, 2005. "On the endogenous allocation of decision powers in federal structures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 242-257, March.
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    9. Wilson, John Douglas & Janeba, Eckhard, 2005. "Decentralization and international tax competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1211-1229, July.
    10. John Douglas Wilson & Roger H. Gordon, 2003. "Expenditure Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 399-417, April.
    11. Wilson, John Douglas, 2005. "Welfare-improving competition for mobile capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-18, January.
    12. John William Hatfield & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2008. "A Political Economy Theory of Partial Decentralization," NBER Working Papers 14628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
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    15. Tresch, Richard W. & Tresch, Richard W., 2002. "Public Finance," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780126990515.
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    18. Brueckner, Jan K., 2000. "A Tiebout/tax-competition model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 285-306, August.
    19. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
    20. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aslim, Erkmen Giray & Neyapti, Bilin, 2017. "Optimal fiscal decentralization: Redistribution and welfare implications," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 224-234.
    2. Eckhard Janeba & Maximilian Todtenhaupt, 2016. "Fiscal Competition and Public Debt," CESifo Working Paper Series 6155, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Haufler, Andreas & Lülfesmann, Christoph, 2015. "Reforming an asymmetric union: On the virtues of dual tier capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 116-127.
    4. Emilson Caputo Delfino Silva, 2017. "Tax competition and federal equalization schemes with decentralized leadership," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(1), pages 164-178, February.
    5. Francis Bloch & Ünal Zenginobuz, 2015. "Oates’ decentralization theorem with imperfect household mobility," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 353-375, June.
    6. Oliver Lorz & Gerald Willmann, 2013. "Size versus scope: on the trade-off facing economic unions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(2), pages 247-267, April.
    7. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9437-9 is not listed on IDEAS

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