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Tax Deductibility and Municipal Budget Structure

In: Fiscal Federalism: Quantitative Studies

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Harvey S . Rosen

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of deductibility of local taxes on communities' budgetary decisions. Our focus is on how changes in the tax price of local spending induced by deductibility affect the mix between deductible and nondeductible revenue sources, and on expenditures. The econometric analysis is based on a rich data set that tracks the fiscal behavior of 172 local governments from 1978 to 1980. We find that the elasticity of deductible taxes with respect to the tax price is in the range -1.2 to -1.6; the tax price has no statistically significant effect on the use of nondeductible revenue sources; and the elasticity of local expenditures with respect to the tax price is about -1.8. Hence, if deductibility were eliminated, we would expect to see a substantial decline in local government spending.
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Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Harvey S . Rosen, 1988. "Tax Deductibility and Municipal Budget Structure," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Federalism: Quantitative Studies, pages 107-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7885
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feldstein, Martin S & Metcalf, Gilbert E, 1987. "The Effect of Federal Tax Deductibility on State and Local Taxes and Spending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 710-736, August.
    2. Hettich, Walter & Winer, Stanley, 1984. "A positive model of tax structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 67-87, June.
    3. White, Halbert, 1982. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Independent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 483-499, March.
    4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    5. Daniel R. Feenberg & Harvey S. Rosen, 1985. "The Deductibility of State and Local Taxes: Impact Effects by State and Income Class," NBER Working Papers 1768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Robert P. Inman, 1985. "Does Deductibility Influence Local Taxation?," NBER Working Papers 1714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Esteller-More, Alex & Sole-Olle, Albert, 2001. "Vertical income tax externalities and fiscal interdependence: evidence from the US," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2-3), pages 247-272, April.
    2. Nechyba, Thomas, 1996. "A computable general equilibrium model of intergovernmental aid," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 363-397, November.
    3. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1993. "Tax exporting, federal deductibility, and state tax structure," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 109-126.
    4. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Rosen, Harvey, 1990. "Federal deductibility and local property tax rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 269-284, May.
    5. Alberto Sole Olle, 1998. "The effects of tax deductibility on the mix of property taxes and use charges: an empirical analysis of the spanish case," Working Papers in Economics 41, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    6. Slemrod, Joel, 1992. "Do Taxes Matter? Lessons from the 1980's," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 250-256, May.

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