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Bargaining for Fiscal Control: Tax Federalism in Brazil and Mexico, 1870-1940

This paper studies the historical origins of the federalist institutions in Mexico and Brazil. Using a bargaining game model, I argue that the type of commodities each country produced by the end of the nineteenth Century determined the negotiation power of local governments. This led to the buildup of opposite federalist institutions in both countries, which have persisted until nowadays. The model shows that countries with regions with more autonomy to produce and trade their commodities increase the local power to collect more taxes. While in Brazil coffee was the most important commodity, Mexico relied on mining products. Coffee was produced by local landowners who became economically powerful and they were able that export taxes were collected locally with the proclamation of the 1891 Constitution. Empirical estimates show that, after 1891, exporter states increased significantly their own fiscal revenue. On the other hand, mining was capital and technology intensive, inputs that were domestically scarce in Mexico. To finance those activities foreign investment was promoted centrally, weakening the relative power of local elites.

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Paper provided by Banco de México in its series Working Papers with number 2011-06.

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Date of creation: Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdm:wpaper:2011-06
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  2. Richard M. Bird & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Benno Torgler, 2014. "Societal Institutions and Tax Effort in Developing Countries," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 301-351, May.
  3. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
  5. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World: Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
  7. repec:ttp:itpwps:0411 is not listed on IDEAS
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