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How Fiscal Decentralization Flattens Progressive Taxes

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  • Roland Hodler
  • Kurt Schmidheiny

Abstract

We study the tension between fiscal decentralization and progressive taxation. We present a multi-community model in which households differ in incomes and housing preferences and in which the local income tax rate is a function of an exogenous progressive tax schedule and an endogenous local tax shifter. The progressivity of the tax schedule induces a self-sorting process that results in substantial though imperfect income sorting. The actual tax structure is thus less progressive than the exogenous tax schedule. Empirical evidence from the largest Swiss metropolitan area supports the predictions of our model.

Suggested Citation

  • Roland Hodler & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2005. "How Fiscal Decentralization Flattens Progressive Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1575, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1575
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert Metcalf & Jongsang Park, 2007. "A comment on the role of prices for excludable public goods," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(6), pages 685-698, December.
    2. Feld, Lars P. & Frey, Christian & Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Schmid, Lukas A., 2021. "Fiscal federalism and income inequality: An empirical analysis for Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 185(C), pages 463-494.
    3. Brülhart, Marius & Bucovetsky, Sam & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2015. "Taxes in Cities," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1123-1196, Elsevier.
    4. Margit Schratzenstaller & Karl Aiginger & Gunther Tichy & Ewald Walterskirchen, 2006. "Teilstudie 12: Wachstumsimpulse durch die öffentliche Hand," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 27451, June.
    5. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Somogyi, Frank & Sturm, Jan-Egbert, 2011. "Tax competition and income sorting: Evidence from the Zurich metropolitan area," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 455-470, September.
    6. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation and local progressive taxation: Empirical evidence from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 429-458, February.
    7. Kai Konrad & Stergios Skaperdas, 2012. "The market for protection and the origin of the state," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(2), pages 417-443, June.
    8. Stossberg Sibylle & Blöchliger Hansjörg, 2017. "Fiscal Decentralisation and Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 237(3), pages 225-273, June.
    9. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2007. "Social networking and individual outcomes beyond the mean field case," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(3-4), pages 369-390.
    10. Frey, Christian & Schaltegger, Christoph A., 2016. "Progressive taxes and top income shares: A historical perspective on pre- and post-tax income concentration in Switzerland," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 5-9.
    11. Christoph Basten & Maximilian von Ehrlich & Andrea Lassmann, 2014. "Income Taxes, Sorting, and the Costs of Housing," KOF Working papers 14-362, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    12. Darlene Chisholm & Margaret McMillan & George Norman, 2010. "Product differentiation and film-programming choice: do first-run movie theatres show the same films?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 34(2), pages 131-145, May.
    13. Roller, Marcus & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2016. "Effective Tax Rates and Effective Progressivity in a Fiscally Decentralized Country," CEPR Discussion Papers 11152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Christoph Basten & Maximilian Ehrlich & Andrea Lassmann, 2017. "Income Taxes, Sorting and the Costs of Housing: Evidence from Municipal Boundaries in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(601), pages 653-687, May.
    15. Sergii Slukhai, 2009. "Inter-Location Small Business Tax Rate Variation in Ukraine: What Is Behind It?," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 33(1), pages 49-71.
    16. Darlene C. Chisholm & George Norman, 2006. "When to Exit a Product: Evidence from the U. S. Motion-Picture Exhibition Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 57-61, May.
    17. Schmidheiny, Kurt & Slotwinski, Michaela, 2018. "Tax-induced mobility: Evidence from a foreigners' tax scheme in Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 293-324.
    18. Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2005. "Social Networks in Labor Markets," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0517, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    19. Simon Berset & Mark Schelker, 2021. "Decentralization and Progressive Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 8862, CESifo.
    20. Marcus Roller & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2014. "Mobility and Progressive Taxation," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1354, European Regional Science Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    progressive taxation; fiscal decentralization; income segregation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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