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Cities in Fiscal Equalization

Author

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  • Thiess Büttner
  • Fédéric Holm-Hadulla

Abstract

Redistributive grants schemes, such as fiscal equalization, are a common characteristic of local public finance in several countries. However, large and small jurisdictions are treated differently by the respective fiscal equalization schemes that often tend to favour larger jurisdictions. This paper provides a theoretical analysis showing that efficiency considerations might justify a preferential treatment of large jurisdictions. More specifically, we show that an efficient grant scheme would enable large jurisdictions such as cities to provide more public services. Under some conditions, the resulting budget of cities will exceed that of small towns in per-capita terms. Moreover, in a setting with local capital taxation we find that an efficient equalization scheme would also allow cities to retain a larger share of own funds.

Suggested Citation

  • Thiess Büttner & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla, 2008. "Cities in Fiscal Equalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 2447, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2447
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp2447.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thiess Büttner & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla, 2008. "Fiscal Equalization: The Case of German Municipalities," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(1), pages 16-20, 04.
    2. Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with interregional differences in factor endowments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 423-451, November.
    3. Wildasin, David E., 1989. "Interjurisdictional capital mobility: Fiscal externality and a corrective subsidy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 193-212, March.
    4. Buettner, Thiess, 2006. "The incentive effect of fiscal equalization transfers on tax policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 477-497, February.
    5. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2006. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 119-144, January.
    6. Henry J. Schmandt & G. Ross Stephens, 1963. "Local Government Expenditure Patterns in the United States," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4), pages 397-406.
    7. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
    8. Homburg, Stefan, 1994. "Anreizwirkungen des deutschen Finanzausgleichs," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 312-330..
    9. Fenge, Robert & Meier, Volker, 2002. "Why cities should not be subsidized," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 433-447, November.
    10. B. Dahlby & L. S. Wilson, 1994. "Fiscal Capacity, Tax Effort, and Optimal Equalization Grants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 657-672, August.
    11. Marko Köthenbürger, 2002. "Tax Competition and Fiscal Equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 391-408, August.
    12. 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.
    13. repec:ces:ifodic:v:6:y:2008:i:1:p:14567164 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Tiberiu Dragu & Jonathan Rodden, 2010. "Representation and regional redistribution in federations," Working Papers 2010/16, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Thiess Büttner & Petra Enß & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla & Robert Schwager & Christiane Starbatty & Wiebke Webering, 2009. "Der kommunale Finanzausgleich in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern : langfristige Entwicklung und Reformperspektiven ; Teil II: Der horizontale Finanzausgleich ; Gutachten im Auftrag des Innenministeriums des La," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 46, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    revenue sharing; fiscal equalization; agglomeration; tax competition; municipal finance;

    JEL classification:

    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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