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

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Abstract

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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  • André Martínez, 2011. "Bargaining for Fiscal Control: Tax Federalism in Brazil and Mexico, 1870-1940," Working Papers 2011-06, Banco de México.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdm:wpaper:2011-06
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    File URL: http://www.banxico.org.mx/publicaciones-y-discursos/publicaciones/documentos-de-investigacion/banxico/%7B9B00006C-0EAC-D949-0C8C-564BE136006A%7D.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 1999. "Shadow Economies Around the World - Size, Causes, and Consequences," CESifo Working Paper Series 196, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Institutions; Fiscal Federalism; Public Finance and Endowments.;

    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
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • N96 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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