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Does competition for capital discipline governments? The role of fiscal equalization

  • Yongzheng Liu


This paper examines how a fiscal equalization system affects the disciplining effect of competition for capital among heterogeneous regions in a decentralized economy. I build a model in which regions that are heterogeneous in initial endowments try to attract capital by competing public input that enhances the productivity of capital; meanwhile, a fiscal equalization system is imposed by the central government to reduce regional disparities in fiscal capacity. The key prediction, borne out in data from the German equalization system, is that while competition for capital strengthens discipline in the well-endowed regions, it weakens discipline in the poorly endowed regions. However, a conventional equalization transfer scheme, common to many countries, can be effective in correcting the distortion driven by the heterogeneity of initial endowments across competing regions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 21 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 345-374

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:21:y:2014:i:3:p:345-374
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