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Tax competition among local governments: evidence from a property tax reform in Finland

  • Teemu Lyytikäinen

This paper uses a Finnish policy intervention to study tax competition among local governments. Changes in the statutory lower limits to the property tax rates are used as a source of exogenous variation to estimate the responses of municipalities to tax rates in their neighbouring municipalities. I do not find evidence of interdependence in property tax rates among Finnish municipalities. The results are in contrast to the earlier empirical literature, using data from other countries, that has mainly found positive interdependence in tax rates. I compare the causal estimates based on the policy change to the commonly used Spatial Lag estimates and Spatial Instrumental Variables estimates, which are based on highly restrictive assumptions. The comparisons suggest that the standard spatial econometrics methods may have a tendency to overestimate the degree of interdependence in tax rates.

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Paper provided by Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT) in its series Working Papers with number 26.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fer:wpaper:26
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  1. Brueckner, Jan K., 2000. "A Tiebout/tax-competition model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 285-306, August.
  2. Büttner, Thiess, 1998. "Local Business Taxation and Competition for Capital: The Choice of the Tax Rate," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-43, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  4. Jan K. Brueckner & Luz A. Saavedra, 2000. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0357, Econometric Society.
  5. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2006. "Identifying Strategic Interactions in Swedish Local Income Tax Policies," Working Paper Series 2006:22, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2007. "The Effect of Three-rate Property Taxation on Housing Construction," Discussion Papers 419, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
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  8. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
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  11. Karin Edmark & Matz Dahlberg, 2004. "Is There a "Race-to-the-Bottom" in the Setting of Welfare Benefit Levels? Evidence from a Policy Intervention," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 473, Econometric Society.
  12. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
  13. 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.
  14. Federico Revelli, 2001. "Spatial patterns in local taxation: tax mimicking or error mimicking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1101-1107.
  15. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
  16. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  17. Richter, Wolfram F. & Wellisch, Dietmar, 1996. "The provision of local public goods and factors in the presence of firm and household mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 73-93, April.
  18. Federico Revelli, 2002. "Testing the taxmimicking versus expenditure spill-over hypotheses using English data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(14), pages 1723-1731.
  19. Eugster, Beatrix & Parchet, Raphaël, 2013. "Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition," Economics Working Paper Series 1339, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  20. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2003. "In search of yardstick competition: a spatial analysis of Italian municipality property tax setting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 199-217, September.
  21. Maarten Allers & J. Elhorst, 2005. "Tax Mimicking and Yardstick Competition Among Local Governments in the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 493-513, August.
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