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How Fiscal Decentralization Flattens Progressive Taxes

  • Roland Hodler
  • Kurt Schmidheiny

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.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2005/wp-cesifo-2005-10/cesifo1_wp1575.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1575.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1575
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  1. Mayo, Stephen K., 1981. "Theory and estimation in the economics of housing demand," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 95-116, July.
  2. Kurt Schmidheiny, 2003. "Income Segregation and Local Progressive Taxation: Empirical Evidence from Switzerland," Diskussionsschriften dp0311, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  3. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1989. "A re-examination of the use of ability to pay taxes by local governments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 319-342, April.
  4. Young, H Peyton, 1990. "Progressive Taxation and Equal Sacrifice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 253-66, March.
  5. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  6. Hansen, Julia L. & Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James, 1996. "The Income Elasticity of Demand for Housing: Evidence from Concentration Curves," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 173-192, March.
  7. Feldstein, Martin & Wrobel, Marian Vaillant, 1998. "Can state taxes redistribute income?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 369-396, June.
  8. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation from local income taxation when households differ in both preferences and incomes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 270-299, March.
  9. Anna Hardman & Yannis Ioannides, 2004. "Neighbors’ Income Distribution: Economic Segregation and Mixing in US Urban Neighborhoods," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0421, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  10. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
  11. Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
  12. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  13. Ross, Stephen & Yinger, John, 1999. "Sorting and voting: A review of the literature on urban public finance," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 2001-2060 Elsevier.
  14. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  15. Hansen, Julia L. & Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James, 1998. "Estimating the Income Elasticity of Demand for Housing: A Comparison of Traditional and Lorenz-Concentration Curve Methodologies," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 328-342, December.
  16. Ellickson, Bryan, 1971. "Jurisdictional Fragmentation and Residential Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 334-39, May.
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