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The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy

  • Thiess Buettner

A theoretical analysis considers the impact of a typical system of redistributive “fiscal equalization” transfers on the taxing effort of local jurisdictions. More specifically, it shows that the marginal contribution rate, i.e. the rate at which an increase in the tax base reduces those transfers, might be positively associated with the local tax rate while the volume of grants received is likely to be inversely related to the tax base. These predictions are tested in an empirical analysis of the tax policy of German municipalities. In order to identify the incentive effect the analysis exploits discontinuities in the rules of the fiscal equalization system as well as policy changes. The empirical results support the existence of an incentive effect, suggesting that the high marginal contribution rates induce the municipalities to raise their business tax rates significantly.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1404.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1404
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  10. Christian Baretti & Bernd Huber & Karl Lichtblau, 2002. "A Tax on Tax Revenue: The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(6), pages 631-649, November.
  11. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  12. WILDASIN, David E., . "Interjurisdictional capital mobility: Fiscal externality and a corrective subsidy," CORE Discussion Papers RP -831, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  14. Baretti, Christian & Huber, Bernd & Lichtblau, Karl, 2002. "A Tax on Tax Revenue: The Incentive Effects of Equalizing Transfers: Evidence from Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 20129, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
  16. Robin Boadway, 2003. "The Theory and Practice of Equalization," Working Papers 1016, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  17. Buettner, Thiess, 2001. "Fiscal externalities in local tax competition: empirical evidence from a panel of German jurisdictions," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-11, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  18. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
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