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Minimum Standards, Fixed Costs and Taxing Autonomy of SubnationalGovernments

  • Helmut Seitz
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    The paper examines the question how fiscally strong and fiscally weak states respond to taxing autonomy at the state level, a subject that is currently under debate in Germany where states do have virtually no power to tax. We use a simple theoretical model that incorporates state surtaxes on the federal income tax bill taking into account fixed costs as well as minimum standards for the provision of public services. We show that both factors work in the direction of forcing fiscally weak states to collect higher surtaxes as compared to fiscally strong states. The empirical section presents evidence on the importance of fixed costs at the state level and calculates the distributional effects of taxing autonomy taking feedbacks of the fiscal equalization system into account. In addition simple estimates of the importance of spending on minimum standards are derived.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2008/wp-cesifo-2008-06/cesifo1_wp2341.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2341.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2341
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    1. Thiess Büttner & Robert Schwager, 2003. "Länderautonomie in der Einkommensteuer: Konsequenzen eines Zuschlagsmodells," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 223(5), pages 532-555.
    2. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2001. "Income tax competition at the State and Local Level in Switzerland," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2-3), pages 181-213, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1996. "Tax harmonization and tax competition in the European Union: Lessons from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 351-371, June.
    5. Michael Keen, 1998. "Vertical Tax Externalities in the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 454-485, September.
    6. Isabelle Joumard & Per Mathis Kongsrud, 2003. "Fiscal Relations across Government Levels," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 375, OECD Publishing.
    7. Wildasin, David E., 1991. "Some rudimetary 'duopolity' theory," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 393-421, November.
    8. 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.
    9. Hoyt, William H., 1992. "Market power of large cities and policy differences in metropolitan areas," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 539-558, November.
    10. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
    11. Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2006. "The influence of taxes on migration: evidence from Switzerland," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 235-252, March.
    12. Feld, Lars P, 2000. " Tax Competition and Income Redistribution: An Empirical Analysis for Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 125-64, October.
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