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Tax Competition, Relative Performance and Policy Imitation

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  • Andreas Wagener

Abstract

Rather than about absolute payoffs, governments in fiscal competition often seem to care about their performance relative to other governments. Moreover, they often appear to mimic policies observed elsewhere. We study such behaviour in a tax competition game with mobile capital à la Zodrow-Mieszkowski. Both with relative payoff concerns and for imitative policies, evolutionary stability is the appropriate solution concept. It renders tax competition more aggressive than with best-reply policies (Nash equilibrium). Whatever the number of jurisdictions involved, an evolutionary stable tax policy coincides with the competitive outcome of a tax competition game played among infinitely many governments. Tax competition among boundedly rational governments, thus, involves drastic efficiency losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Wagener, 2009. "Tax Competition, Relative Performance and Policy Imitation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2723, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2723
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal competition; relative performance; tax mimicking; evolutionary stability;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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