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The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions

  • Sam Bucovetsky
  • Michael Smart

This paper shows how a popular system of federal revenue equalization grants can limit tax competition among subnational governments, correct fiscal externalities, and increase government spending. Remarkably, an equalization grant can implement efficient policy choices by regional governments, regardless of a wide variety of differences in regional tax capacity, tastes for public spending, and population. Thus, compared to other corrective devices, equalization achieves “robust” implementation. If aggregate tax bases are elastic, however, equalization leads to excessive taxation. Efficiency can be achieved by a modified formula that equalizes a fraction of local revenue deficiencies equal to the fraction of taxes that are shifted backward to factor suppliers.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2002/wp-cesifo-2002-08/cesifo_wp767.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 767.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_767
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  1. 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.
  2. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  3. Gary-Bobo, Robert J., 1989. "Cournot-Walras and locally consistent equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 10-32, October.
  4. WILDASIN, David E., . "Interjurisdictional capital mobility: Fiscal externality and a corrective subsidy," CORE Discussion Papers RP -831, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-74, September.
  6. DePeter James A. & Myers Gordon M., 1994. "Strategic Capital Tax Competition: A Pecuniary Externality and a Corrective Device," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 66-78, July.
  7. FIGUIÈRES, Charles & HINDRIKS, Jean & MYLES, Gareth D., . "Revenue sharing versus expenditure sharing in a federal system," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1683, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Laussel, Didier & Le Breton, Michel, 1998. "Existence of Nash equilibria in fiscal competition models," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 283-296, May.
  9. Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "Federalism as a Commitment to Preserving Market Incentives," Working Papers 97042, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  10. Masayoshi Hayashi & Robin Boadway, 2001. "An empirical analysis of intergovernmental tax interaction: the case of business income taxes in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 481-503, May.
  11. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
  12. Alejandro Esteller-Moré & Albert Solé-Ollé, 2002. "Tax Setting in a Federal System: The Case of Personal Income Taxation in Canada," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 235-257, May.
  13. Flatters, Frank & Henderson, Vernon & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1974. "Public goods, efficiency, and regional fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 99-112, May.
  14. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521233293 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Kehoe, Patrick J, 1989. "Policy Cooperation among Benevolent Governments May Be Undesirable," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 289-96, April.
  17. Robin W. Boadway & Frank R. Flatters, 1982. "Efficiency and Equalization Payments in a Federal System of Government: A Synthesis and Extension of Recent Results," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(4), pages 613-33, November.
  18. Bucovetsky, S. & Marchand, M. & Pestieau, P., 1998. "Tax Competition and Revelation of Preferences for Public Expenditure," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 367-390, November.
  19. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  20. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  21. Card, David & Payne, A. Abigail, 2002. "School finance reform, the distribution of school spending, and the distribution of student test scores," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 49-82, January.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Marko Köthenbürger, 2002. "Tax Competition and Fiscal Equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 391-408, August.
  25. FIGUIÈRES, Charles & HINDRIKS, Jean & MYLES, Gareth D., 2001. "Revenue sharing versus expenditure sharing," CORE Discussion Papers 2001015, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  26. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
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