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Tax Contracts and Elections

In this paper we examine the impact of tax contracts as a novel institution on elections, policies, and welfare. We consider a political game in which three parties compete to form the government. Parties have policy preferences about the level of public-good provision and benefit from perks when in office. A government raises taxes for both purposes. We show that tax contracts yield moderate policies and lead to lower perks by avoiding the formation of grand coalitions in order to win government. Moreover, in polarized societies they unambigously improve the welfare of the median voter.

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File URL: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/mtec/cer-eth/cer-eth-dam/documents/working-papers/WP-09-123.pdf
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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 09/123.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:09-123
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  1. Gilat Levy, 2004. "A model of political parties," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 540, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1989. "Government Spending and Budget Deficits in the Industrial Economies," NBER Working Papers 2919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Battaglini, Marco & Coate, Stephen, 2007. "A Dynamic Theory of Public Spending, Taxation and Debt," Working Papers 07-04, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  4. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  5. Christian Schultz & Ignacio Ortuno-OrtÍn, 2000. "Public Funding of Political Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 368, CESifo Group Munich.
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  7. Gersbach, Hans & Schneider, Maik, 2008. "Tax Contracts and Government Formation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. Schaltegger, Christoph A. & Feld, Lars P., 2009. "Do large cabinets favor large governments? Evidence on the fiscal commons problem for Swiss Cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 35-47, February.
  10. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, June.
  11. McKelvey, Richard D. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1987. "Elections with limited information: A multidimensional model," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 77-99, August.
  12. Hans Gersbach & Maik T. Schneider, 2009. "Tax Contracts and Elections," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/123, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  13. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  14. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
  15. Feld, Lars P. & Matsusaka, John G., 2003. "Budget referendums and government spending: evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2703-2724, December.
  16. Michele Polo, . "Electoral competition and political rents," Working Papers 144, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  17. Roland Bénabou, 2008. "Joseph Schumpeter Lecture Ideology," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 321-352, 04-05.
  18. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
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