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From transfers to tax "co-occupation": the Italian reform of intergovernmental finance

Author

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  • Ernesto Longobardi

    () (Università di Bari)

Abstract

The paper provides some insights into the current reform of the system of intergovernmental relations in Italy. A most relevant change is the abolition of transfers from a higher level of government as an ordinary means of finance for sub-central governments, with the exception of grants having an explicit equalisation purpose. Since the room for autonomous local taxes is quite narrow, transfers are going to be substituted, to a large extent, by different forms of "co-occupation" of central taxes. Using the OECD taxonomy about tax autonomy, it is shown that the effective increase in "infra-marginal" tax autonomy of sub-central governments brought about by the reform will be quite modest. At the margin, however, where autonomy really matters, there could be enough room for the exercise of effective discretion. The main problem is that both the central and the sub-central governments fear the decentralisation of tax power. The former because it feels that, at least in the transitional period, the electorate might not properly distinguish the different fiscal responsibilities; the latter because they would prefer not to tax their electorate, notwithstanding their preferences for more stable and predictable sources of finance with respect to the current system.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernesto Longobardi, 2011. "From transfers to tax "co-occupation": the Italian reform of intergovernmental finance," SERIES 0038, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Dec 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:bai:series:economia-series38
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    File URL: http://www.seriesworkingpapers.it/RePEc/bai/series/Economia-Series38.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gastaldi Francesca & Longobardi Ernesto & Zanardi Alberto, 2009. "Sharing the Personal Income Tax among Levels of Government: Some Open Issues from the Italian Experience," Rivista italiana degli economisti, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 1, pages 157-190.
    2. Daniel Bergvall & Claire Charbit & Dirk-Jan Kraan & Olaf Merk, 2006. "Intergovernmental Transfers and Decentralised Public Spending," OECD Journal on Budgeting, OECD Publishing, vol. 5(4), pages 111-158.
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Di Liddo & Ernesto Longobardi & Francesco Porcelli, 2014. "Measuring Horizontal Fiscal Imbalances: the case of Italian Municipalities," SERIES 0049, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jul 2014.
    2. Richard M. Bird, 2013. "Below the Salt: Decentralizing Value-Added Taxes," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1302, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    3. Richard M. Bird, 2014. "A Better Local Business Tax: The BVT," IMFG Papers 18, University of Toronto, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergovernmental finance; decentralisation; tax assignment; tax autonomy;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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