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Communal fees and election cycles: Evidence from German municipalities

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  • Manuela Krause

Abstract

The political business cycle theories describe that election-motivated politicians manipulate economic policy-making. Election cycles occur in many fiscal variables, for example tax rates. I examine whether electoral motives influence communal fees in Germany. Fees have to be paid for the use of many public services, for example waste management or sewerage provisions. Fees should be equivalent to the costs of a public service and thus correspond to the benefit principle in public finance. The German municipalities, however, have a leeway to determine fees. I use revenue data for around 7,000 West German municipalities from seven states over the period 1992–2006. The results show that municipalities increase communal fees in election years to a smaller extent than in the middle of the legislative period, while they increase fees more directly after elections. Fees increase in election years by 0.94 euro per capita less and directly after elections by 1.74 euro per capita more than in the middle of the legislative period. The results thus corroborate the predictions of the political business cycle theories.

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  • Manuela Krause, 2019. "Communal fees and election cycles: Evidence from German municipalities," ifo Working Paper Series 293, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ifowps:_293
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral cycles; political business cycles; local government; communal; fees; public utilities sector;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General
    • H27 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other Sources of Revenue

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