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How Do Local Governments Decide on Public Policy in Fiscal Federalism? Tax vs. Expenditure Optimization

  • Marko Köthenbürger

Previous literature widely assumes that taxes are optimized in local public finance while expenditures adjust residually. This paper endogenizes the choice of the optimization variable. In particular, it analyzes how federal policy toward local governments influences the way local governments decide on public policy. Unlike the presumption, the paper shows that local governments may choose to optimize over expenditures. The result most notably prevails when federal policy subsidizes local fiscal effort. The results offer a new perspective of the efficiency implications of federal policy toward local governments and, thereby, enable a more precise characterization of local government behaviour in fiscal federalism.

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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-2008-09/cesifo1_wp2385.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2385.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2385
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  1. Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Working Papers w0001, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  2. Michael Smart, 2007. "Raising taxes through equalization," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1188-1212, November.
  3. Marko Köthenbürger, 2006. "Ex-Post Redistribution in a Federation: Implications for Corrective Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1754, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Leonard Cheng, 1985. "Comparing Bertrand and Cournot Equilibria: A Geometric Approach," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 146-152, Spring.
  5. Nalebuff, B. & Caplin, A., 1992. "Competition Among Institutions," Discussion Papers 1992_36, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  7. Marko Koethenbuerger, 2010. "How do local governments decide on public policy in fiscal federalism? Tax vs. expenditure optimization," Working Papers 2010/29, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  8. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 11.
  9. Thiess Buettner, 2005. "The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1404, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Hindriks, Jean, 1999. "The consequences of labour mobility for redistribution: tax vs. transfer competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 215-234, November.
  11. van Damme, E.E.C. & Hurkens, J.P.M., 1999. "Endogenous Stackelberg leadership," Other publications TiSEM 83a05fd8-4285-48f3-84ef-3, School of Economics and Management.
  12. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1999. "Equity and Resources: An Analysis of Education Finance Systems," NBER Working Papers 7111, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. WILDASIN, David, . "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," CORE Discussion Papers RP -804, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Caplan, Arthur J. & Cornes, Richard C. & Silva, Emilson C. D., 2000. "Pure public goods and income redistribution in a federation with decentralized leadership and imperfect labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 265-284, August.
  15. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2010. "Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 154-79, August.
  16. Peter Egger & Marko Koethenbuerger & Michael Smart, 2007. "Do Fiscal Transfers Alleviate Business Tax Competition? Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1955, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Thorsten Bayindir-Upmann, 1998. "Two Games of Interjurisdictional Competition When Local Governments Provide Industrial Public Goods," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 471-487, October.
  18. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-154410 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Wildasin, David E., 1997. "Externalities and bailouts : hard and soft budget constraints in intergovernmental fiscal relations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1843, The World Bank.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Xavier Vives, 2001. "Oligopoly Pricing: Old Ideas and New Tools," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026272040x, June.
  23. Guillermo Caruana & Liran Einav, 2008. "A Theory of Endogenous Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 99-116.
  24. Nirvikar Singh & Xavier Vives, 1984. "Price and Quantity Competition in a Differentiated Duopoly," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 546-554, Winter.
  25. 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.
  26. Akai, Nobuo & Sato, Motohiro, 2008. "Too big or too small? A synthetic view of the commitment problem of interregional transfers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 551-559, November.
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