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Tax Setting in a Federal System: The Case of Personal Income Taxation in Canada

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  • Alejandro Esteller-Moré
  • Albert Solé-Ollé

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Abstract

In a decentralised tax system, the effects of tax policies enacted by one government are not confined to its own jurisdiction. First, if both the regional and the federal levels of government co-occupy the same fields of taxation, tax rate increases by one layer of government will reduce taxes collected by the other. Second, if the tax base is mobile, tax rate increases by one regional government will raise the amount of taxes collected by other regional governments. These sources of fiscal interdependence are called in the literature vertical and horizontal tax externalities, respectively. Third, as Smart (1998) shows, if equalisation transfers are present, an increase in the standard equalisation tax rate provides incentives to raise taxes to the receiving provinces. A way to check the empirical relevance of these hypotheses is to test for the existence of interactions between the regional tax rate, on the one hand, and the federal tax rate, the tax rate set by competing regions, and the standard equalisation tax rate, on the other hand. Following this approach, this paper estimates provincial tax setting functions with data on Canadian personal income taxation for the period 1982–1996. We find a significant positive response of provincial tax rates to changes in the federal income tax rate, the tax rates of competing provinces, and the standard equalisation rate (only for receiving provinces). We also find that the reaction to horizontal competition is stronger in the provinces that do not receive equalisation transfers. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Alejandro Esteller-Moré & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2002. "Tax Setting in a Federal System: The Case of Personal Income Taxation in Canada," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(3), pages 235-257, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:9:y:2002:i:3:p:235-257
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1016212110137
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thiess Büttner & Sebastian Hauptmeier & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Efficient Revenue Sharing and Upper Level Governments: Theory and Application to Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1656, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Leonzio Rizzo, 2008. "Local government responsiveness to federal transfers: theory and evidence," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(3), pages 316-337, June.
    3. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2006. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 119-144, January.
    4. Per G. Fredriksson & Khawaja A. Mamun, 2014. "Tobacco Politics and Electoral Accountability in the United States," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(1), pages 4-34, January.
    5. Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou, 2007. "Globalization, Asymmetric Tax Competition, and Fiscal Equalization," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(5), pages 901-925, October.
    6. Hübner, Malte, 2012. "The welfare effects of discriminating between in-state and out-of-state students," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 364-374.
    7. Sylvie Charlot & Sonia Paty, 2007. "Market access effect and local tax setting: evidence from French panel data," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 247-263, May.
    8. Lisa Grazzini & Alessandro Petretto, 2006. "Vertical Tax Competition with Tax Sharing and Equalization Grants," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 65(1), pages 75-94, May.
    9. Brulhart, Marius & Jametti, Mario, 2006. "Vertical versus horizontal tax externalities: An empirical test," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 2027-2062, November.
    10. Sylvie Charlot & Sonia Paty, 2006. "Taxable Agglomeration Rent: Evidence From A Panel Data," INRA UMR CESAER Working Papers 2006/1, INRA UMR CESAER, Centre d'’Economie et Sociologie appliquées à l'’Agriculture et aux Espaces Ruraux.
    11. Jan Werner & Laurent Guihéry & Ognjen Djukic, 2006. "Fiscal Federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Ten Years after the Dayton Treatment and Still not in a Steady Condition," Post-Print halshs-00300713, HAL.
    12. Matthieu Leprince & Thierry Madiès & Sonia Paty, 2007. "Business Tax Interactions Among Local Governments: An Empirical Analysis Of The French Case," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(3), pages 603-621, August.
    13. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2008. "Identifying strategic interactions in Swedish local income tax policies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 849-857, May.
    14. Benno Torgler & Jan Werner, 2005. "Fiscal Autonomy and Tax Morale: Evidence from Germany," CREMA Working Paper Series 2005-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    15. Luiz de Mello, 2007. "The Brazilian 'Tax War': The Case of Value-Added Tax Competition among the States," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 544, OECD Publishing.
    16. Federico Revelli, 2005. "On Spatial Public Finance Empirics," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(4), pages 475-492, August.
    17. Fredriksson, Per & Mamun, Khawaja, 2009. "Gubernatorial Reputation and Vertical Tax Externalities: All Smoke, No Fire?," Working Papers 2009002, Sacred Heart University, John F. Welch College of Business.
    18. Diego Martínez López, 2005. "On states’ behavior with equalization grants," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 174(3), pages 43-54, September.
    19. Luiz de Mello, 2008. "The Brazilian ``Tax War''," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(2), pages 169-193, March.

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