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Tax policy and yardstick voting in Flemish municipal elections

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  • Jan Vermeir
  • Bruno Heyndels

Abstract

Recent theoretical papers develop political agency models in which voters compare tax policy with that in neighbouring jurisdictions. In these yardstick competition models voters judge incumbents by comparing their policy with policy in neighbouring jurisdictions. This paper reports an analysis of municipal elections in Flanders during the period 1982 to 2000 and finds empirical evidence for yardstick voting. Incumbents are punished for higher tax rates. Importantly, the electoral punishment also depends on tax rates in neighbouring municipalities. Higher rates in neighbouring municipalities are favourable for the incumbents.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Vermeir & Bruno Heyndels, 2006. "Tax policy and yardstick voting in Flemish municipal elections," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(19), pages 2285-2298.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:19:p:2285-2298
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500427536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kristien Werck & Bruno Heyndels & Benny Geys, 2008. "The impact of ‘central places’ on spatial spending patterns: evidence from Flemish local government cultural expenditures," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 32(1), pages 35-58, March.
    2. Geys Benny & Revelli Federico, 2009. "Decentralization, competition and the local tax mix: Evidence from Flanders," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.
    3. Eric Dubois & Sonia Paty, 2010. "Yardstick competition: which neighbours matter?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 44(3), pages 433-452, June.
    4. Pierre Salmon, 2013. "Horizontal competition in multilevel governmental settings," Working Papers hal-00830876, HAL.
    5. Jastramskis, Mažvydas, 2012. "Election forecasting in Lithuania: The case of municipal elections," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 822-829.
    6. Paul N. Thompson & Joseph Whitley, 2017. "The effect of school district and municipal government financial health information on local tax election outcomes: evidence from fiscal stress labels in Ohio," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 265-288, March.
    7. Agostini, Claudio A. & Brown, Philip H. & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "Neighbor effects in the provision of public goods in a young democracy: Evidence from China," IFPRI discussion papers 1027, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    8. Pierre Salmon, 2014. "How significant is yardstick competition among governments? Three reasons to dig deeper," Chapters,in: A Handbook of Alternative Theories of Public Economics, chapter 14, pages 323-341 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Revelli, Federico, 2008. "Performance competition in local media markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1585-1594, July.
    10. Laura Bianchini & Federico Revelli, 2013. "Green Polities: Urban Environmental Performance and Government Popularity," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 72-90, March.
    11. Franklin G. Mixon & Ernest W. King, 2012. "Helping Hispanic-America vote? Ballot technology, voter fatigue and HAVA 2002," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(6), pages 785-792, February.
    12. Friedrich Heinemann & Michael Overesch & Johannes Rincke, 2010. "Rate-Cutting Tax Reforms And Corporate Tax Competition In Europe," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 498-518, November.
    13. Geys, Benny & Moesen, Wim, 2008. "Measuring local government technical (in)efficiency: An application and comparison of FDH, DEA and econometric approaches," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-21, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    14. José da Silva Costa & Armindo Cravalho, 2013. "Yardstick Competition among Portuguese Municipalities: The Case of Urban Property Tax (IMI)," FEP Working Papers 495, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    15. Claudio A. Agostini & Philip Brown & Xiaobo Zhang, 2016. "Special Section: China's Growing Trade and its Role to the World Economy," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 13-31, February.
    16. Geys, Benny & Moesen, Wim, 2008. "Exploring sources of local government technical inefficiency: evidence from Flemish municipalities
      [Ursachenforschung zur technischen Ineffizienz kommunaler Verwaltungen: Evidenz von flämischen Gem
      ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-18, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    17. Laurent Van Malderen & Marcel Gerard, 2013. "Testing yardstick competition through a vote-function: evidence from the Walloon municipalities," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 206-214.
    18. Enlinson Mattos & Ricardo Politi, 2014. "Pro-poor tax policy and yardstick competition: a spatial investigation for VAT relief on food in Brazil," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 52(1), pages 279-307, January.
    19. Gianmarco Daniele & Benny Geys, 2015. "Exposing politicians’ ties to criminal organizations: the effects of local government dissolutions on electoral outcomes in southern Italian municipalities," Working Papers 2015/41, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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