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Strategic tax collection and fiscal decentralization: the case of Russia


  • Alexander Libman

    () (University of Mannheim)

  • Lars P. Feld

    () (University of Heidelberg)


In a centralized federation, where tax rates and taxation rules are set by the federal government, manipulating the thoroughness of tax auditing and the effectiveness of tax collection could be attractive for regional authorities because of a variety of reasons. These range from tax competition to principal-agent problems, state capture and benefits of fiscal equalization. In this paper we discuss strategic tax auditing and collection from the perspective of fiscal federalism and test for strategic tax collection empirically using data of the Russian Federation. Russia’s regional authorities in the 1990s have always been suspect of tax auditing manipulations in their favor. However, in the 2000s increasing bargaining po¬wer of the centre seems to induce tax collection bodies in the regions to manipulate tax auditing in favor of the federal centre. Our findings confirm the existence of strategic tax collection for the Yeltsin period after exclusion of outliers; the results for the Putin period are however rather ambiguous.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Libman & Lars P. Feld, 2009. "Strategic tax collection and fiscal decentralization: the case of Russia," Working Papers 2009/11, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  • Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/10/doc2009-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Maria Ponomareva & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2004. "Federal tax arrears in Russia "Liquidity problems, federal redistribution or regional resistance?"," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 12(3), pages 373-398, September.
    2. Elena Jarocinska, 2010. "Intergovernmental grants in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(2), pages 405-427, April.
    3. Ponomareva, Maria & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2004. "Federal Tax Arrears in Russia: Liquidity Problems, Federal Redistribution or Russian Resistance?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4267, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Rudiger Ahrend, 2005. "Speed of Reform, Initial Conditions or Political Orientation? Explaining Russian Regions' Economic Performance," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 289-317.
    5. Cai, Hongbin & Treisman, Daniel, 2004. "State corroding federalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 819-843, March.
    6. Roger Congleton & Andreas Kyriacou & Jordi Bacaria, 2003. "A Theory of Menu Federalism: Decentralization by Political Agreement," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 167-190, September.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Strategic tax auditing
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-08-26 19:47:00


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    Cited by:

    1. Bönke, Timm & Jochimsen, Beate & Schröder, Carsten, 2014. "Fiscal federalism and tax enforcement," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100394, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Russian federalism and post-Soviet integration: Divergence of development paths," MPRA Paper 12944, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Constitutions, Regulations, and Taxes: Contradictions of Different Aspects of Decentralization," MPRA Paper 15854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Bönke, Timm & Jochimsen, Beate & Schröder, Carsten, 2011. "Fiscal equalization and regions' (un)willingness-to-tax: Evidence from Germany," Economics Working Papers 2011-06, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    5. Libman, Alexander, 2008. "Endogenous (De)Centralization and the Russian Federalism," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 9(1), pages 23-57.
    6. Libman, A., 2010. "Empirical Research on Determinants of Decentralization: A Literature Survey," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 6, pages 10-29.
    7. Alexander Libman, 2012. "Sub-national political regimes and asymmetric fiscal decentralization," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 302-336, December.
    8. repec:dau:papers:123456789/6913 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    fiscal federalism; tax arrears; transition economies;

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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