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Cities in Fiscal Equalization

  • Thiess Buettner
  • Fédéric Holm-Hadulla

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.

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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-2008-11/cesifo1_wp2447.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2447.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2447
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  1. Wilson, J.D., 1990. "Tax Competition With Interregional Differences In Factor Endowments," Working Papers 4, John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy.
  2. Thiess Buettner, 2005. "The Incentive Effect of Fiscal Equalization Transfers on Tax Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 1404, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Marko Köthenbürger, 2002. "Tax Competition and Fiscal Equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-408, August.
  4. Robert Fenge & Volker Meier, 2001. "Why Cities Should not be Subsidized," CESifo Working Paper Series 546, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Homburg, Stefan, 1994. "Anreizwirkungen des deutschen Finanzausgleichs," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 312-330..
  8. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2002. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," CESifo Working Paper Series 767, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. 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 657-72, August.
  10. 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.
  11. Thiess Buettner & Fédéric Holm-Hadulla, 2008. "Fiscal Equalization: The Case of German Municipalities," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(1), pages 16-20, 04.
  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.
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