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Intergovernmental Transfers, Local Fiscal Policy, and the Flypaper Effect: Evidence from a German State

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  • Thushyanthan Baskaran

Abstract

I study how rule-based general-purpose transfers from a higher tier of government affect municipalities' expenditures and taxation. The data set covers 319 municipalities in the German state of Hesse over the period 2001-2010. For identification, I rely on discontinuities in the allocation formula for general-purpose transfers that the state government of Hesse pays to its municipalities. Exploiting these discontinuities to implement an instrumenal-variable design, I find evidence that Hessian municipalities use transfers to increase expenditures but not to reduce taxes. These results are consistent with the existence of a flypaper effect in German local fiscal equalization.

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  • Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2016. "Intergovernmental Transfers, Local Fiscal Policy, and the Flypaper Effect: Evidence from a German State," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 72(1), pages 1-40, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201603)72:1_1:itlfpa_2.0.tx_2-n
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X14462054864882
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bury, Yannick & Feld, Lars P., 2020. "Fiscal federalism in Germany," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 20/4, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    3. Luigi Marattin & Tommaso Nannicini & Francesco Porcelli, 2022. "Revenue vs expenditure based fiscal consolidation: the pass-through from federal cuts to local taxes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(4), pages 834-872, August.
    4. Sebastian Langer & Artem Korzhenevych, 2019. "Equalization Transfers and the Pattern of Municipal Spending: An Investigation of the Flypaper Effect in Germany," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 20(2), pages 737-765, November.
    5. Jaaidane, Touria & Larribeau, Sophie, 2023. "The effects of inter-municipal cooperation and central grant allocation on the size of the French local public sector," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    6. Korzhenevych, Artem & Langer, Sebastian, 2016. "The Flypaper Effect in Germany: An East-West Comparison," CEPIE Working Papers 10/16, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    7. Antti Saastamoinen & Mika Kortelainen, 2020. "When Does Money Stick in Education? Evidence from A Kinked Grant Rule," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 15(4), pages 708-735, Fall.
    8. Shani, Ron & Reingewertz, Yaniv & Vigoda-Gadot, Eran, 2023. "Intergovernmental grants and local public finance: An empirical examination in Israel," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    9. Mamaradlo, Marivic Delos Santos & Tang, Cheng-Tao & Wong, Chun Yee, 2021. "Grant Effects on Public Finance for Local Governments with Self-selection Behavior," Hitotsubashi Journal of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 62(1), pages 33-58, June.
    10. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2017. "Local fiscal policy after a bailout: austerity or soft budget constraints?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 209-238, August.
    11. Manuel E. Lago & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2022. "On the effects of intergovernmental grants: a survey," Working Papers. Collection A: Public economics, governance and decentralization 2204, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.
    12. Sangsoo Lim & Sanghoon Lee & Pilhyun Kim, 2017. "Asymmetry in the fly-paper effect of the national subsidy in Korea," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 560-574, October.
    13. Touria Jaaidane & Sophie Larribeau, 2021. "When Cooperation tames the Leviathan and Partisan-distorted Grant Allocation feeds it: Evidence from French Municipalities," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes & University of Caen) 2021-04, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes, University of Caen and CNRS.
    14. Foremny, Dirk & Jofre-Monseny, Jordi & Solé-Ollé, Albert, 2017. "‘Ghost citizens': Using notches to identify manipulation of population-based grants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 49-66.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    intergovernmental transfers; local fiscal policy; population thresholds; flypaper effect;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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