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Fiscal Federalism in Germany: Stabilization and Redistribution Before and After Unification

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  • Ralf Hepp

    (Fordham University, Department of Economics)

  • Jürgen von Hagen

    (University of Bonn, Indiana University, and CEPR)

Abstract

We provide empirical estimates of the risk-sharing and redistributive properties of the German federal fiscal system based on data from 1970 until 2006, with special attention to the effects of German unification. We find that tax revenue sharing between the states and the federal government and the fiscal equalization mechanism (Länderfinanzausgleich) together reduce differences in per-capita state incomes by 36.9 percent during period 1970 to 1994. After the full integration of East German states into the mechanism in 1995, the redistributive effects increase slightly to about 38.6 percent. With respect to the insurance effect of the German fiscal system, our results indicate that the federal fiscal system offsets 47 percent of an asymmetric shock to state per-capita incomes. This effect has significantly decreased after the inclusion of the East German states in 1995. Furthermore, we find that the German fiscal system provides almost perfect insurance for state government budgets against asymmetric revenue shocks; also, its redistributive effect with regard to the tax resources available to state governments is very strong.

Suggested Citation

  • Ralf Hepp & Jürgen von Hagen, 2009. "Fiscal Federalism in Germany: Stabilization and Redistribution Before and After Unification," Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series dp2009-06, Fordham University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:frd:wpaper:dp2009-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yongzheng Liu, 2014. "Does competition for capital discipline governments? The role of fiscal equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(3), pages 345-374, June.
    2. Ralf Hepp & Jürgen von Hagen, 2013. "Interstate risk sharing in Germany: 1970--2006," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 1-24, January.
    3. Heinemann, Friedrich & Janeba, Eckhard & Moessinger, Marc-Daniel & Schröder, Christoph, 2013. "Revenue Autonomy Preference in German State Parliaments," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79736, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Falilou Fall & Debra Bloch & Jean-Marc Fournier & Peter Hoeller, 2015. "Prudent debt targets and fiscal frameworks," OECD Economic Policy Papers 15, OECD Publishing.
    5. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2012. "Channels of Stabilization in a System of Local Public Health Insurance: The Case of the National Health Insurance in Japan," CARF F-Series CARF-F-280, Center for Advanced Research in Finance, Faculty of Economics, The University of Tokyo.
    6. Tsai-Yuan Huang & Po-Chin Wu & Ching-Wen Yan, 2014. "Revisiting the redistribution effects of intergovernmental fiscal transfers: evidence from Taiwan," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 341-359, December.
    7. Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger & Janine Studerus, 2018. "Regional Risk Sharing and Redistribution - The Role of Fiscal Mechanisms in Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 6902, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Santiago Lago-Peñas & Albino Prada & Alberto Vaquero, 2015. "On the size and determinants of inter-regional redistribution in European countries over the period 1995–2009," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 845-864, November.
    9. Etienne Farvaque & Florence Huart, 2017. "A policymaker’s guide to a Euro area stabilization fund," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 34(1), pages 11-30, April.
    10. Virkola, Tuomo, 2014. "Fiscal Federalism in Four Federal Countries," ETLA Reports 38, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    11. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2013. "On the Decomposition of Regional Stabilization and Redistribution," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-910, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    12. Claudia M. Buch, 2013. "From the Stability Pact to ESM - What Next?," Chapters,in: Stability of the Financial System, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Jurgen von Hagen, 2016. "Fiscal Federalism: Public Goods, Transfers, and Common Pools," Cyprus Economic Policy Review, University of Cyprus, Economics Research Centre, vol. 10(2), pages 41-75, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regional Risk-sharing; Fiscal Federalism; Monetary Union;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F42 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - International Policy Coordination and Transmission

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