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

Listed author(s):
  • Teemu Lyytikäinen

    ()

    (Government Institute for Economic Research VATT & Spatial Economics Research Centre, London School of Economics)

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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File URL: http://www.ieb.ub.edu/aplicacio/fitxers/2011/11/Doc2011-35.pdf
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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2011/35.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2011/11/doc2011-35
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  1. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  2. Stephen Gibbons & Henry G. Overman, 2012. "Mostly Pointless Spatial Econometrics?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 172-191, 05.
  3. 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.
  4. Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2007. "The Effect of Three-rate Property Taxation on Housing Construction," Discussion Papers 419, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  5. Federico Revelli, 2001. "Spatial patterns in local taxation: tax mimicking or error mimicking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1101-1107.
  6. 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.
  7. Wildasin, D.E., 1987. "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," CORE Discussion Papers 1987020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Maarten Allers & J. Elhorst, 2005. "Tax Mimicking and Yardstick Competition Among Local Governments in the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(4), pages 493-513, August.
  9. 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.
  10. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
  14. Brueckner, Jan K. & Saavedra, Luz A., 2001. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(2), pages 203-230, June.
  15. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
  16. repec:ntj:journl:v:54:y:2001:i:n._2:p:203-30 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Edmark, Karin & Ågren, Hanna, 2006. "Identifying Strategic Interactions in Swedish Local Income Tax Policies," Working Paper Series 2006:22, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  18. Dahlberg, Matz & Edmark, Karin, 2004. "Is there a "Race-to-the-Bottom" in the Setting of Welfare Benefit Levels? Evidence from a Policy Intervention," Working Paper Series 2004:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Brueckner, Jan K., 2000. "A Tiebout/tax-competition model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 285-306, August.
  23. repec:ntj:journl:v:52:y:1999:i:n._2:p:269-304 is not listed on IDEAS
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