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Federal tax-transfer policy and intergovernmental pre-commitment

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  • Koethenbuerger, Marko

Abstract

Federal and state governments often differ in the capacity to pre-commit to expenditure and tax policy. Whether the implied sequence of public decisions has any efficiency implications is the subject of this paper. We resort to a setting which contrary to most of the literature does not exhibit a perfect tax-base overlap. We show that a federal government's pre-commitment capacity is welfare-improving. Efficiency, however, does not improve over all decision margins. The welfare-increasing policy entails a more distorted level of public consumption. Moreover, welfare may also improve if local governments are able to pre-commit towards the upper level. The rationale is that although federal transfers are formally unconditional they nevertheless entail a tax-price effect; thereby potentially counteracting incentives to engage in a "race to the bottom" in fiscal competition among local governments.

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  • Koethenbuerger, Marko, 2008. "Federal tax-transfer policy and intergovernmental pre-commitment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 16-31, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:38:y:2008:i:1:p:16-31
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    Cited by:

    1. Akai, Nobuo & Sato, Motohiro, 2008. "Too big or too small? A synthetic view of the commitment problem of interregional transfers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 551-559, November.
    2. Bodhisattva Sengupta, 2016. "Endogenous Leadership in a Federal Transfer Game," Working Papers id:11473, eSocialSciences.
    3. William H. Hoyt, 2017. "The assignment and division of the tax base in a system of hierarchical governments," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(4), pages 678-704, August.
    4. Nobuo Akai & Takahiro Watanabe, 2021. "Elections accelerate inefficiencies in local public good provision with decentralized leadership," OSIPP Discussion Paper 21E004, Osaka School of International Public Policy, Osaka University.
    5. Sengupta, Bodhisatva, 2016. "Endogenous Leadership in a Federal Transfer Game," Working Papers 16/180, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    6. Elisabeth Gugl & Justin Leroux, 2015. "The Rotten Kid Theorem and Almost Transferable Utility," CESifo Working Paper Series 5642, CESifo.
    7. Sebastian G. Kessing & Benny Schneider, 2014. "Regional Investment and Individual Redistribution in a Federation," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 168-14, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6913 is not listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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