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Yardstick competition and the political costs of raising taxes: An empirical analysis of Spanish municipalities

  • Núria Bosch

    ()

    (Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB); Universitat de Barcelona (UB))

  • Albert Solé

    ()

    (Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB); Universitat de Barcelona (UB))

We test the "yardstick competition" hypothesis by looking at the effects of property tax increases both in the locality and in other comparable jurisdictions on the incumbents' vote. In order to obtain unbiased estimates of the effects of taxes on voting, we account for national political shocks, ideological preferences of the citizenship and government traits, and we estimate the vote equation using instrumental variables. We also allow various traits of the government (ideology, coalition government, and first term government) to mediate the effects of taxes on voting. The vote equation was estimated using a large database containing nearly 3,000 Spanish municipalities and analysing three local elections (1995, 1999 and 2003). The results suggest that property tax increases, both at municipality and neighbourhood level, have a non-negligible impact on incumbent votes, and that this impact is especially high when: the government is right-wing, is a coalition, and is not in its first term.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2004/5.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:505578art150
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  1. Albert Solé Ollé, 2005. "The effects of party competition on budget outcomes: Empirical evidence from local governments in Spain," Working Papers 2005/2, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Buettner, Thiess, 2001. "Local business taxation and competition for capital: the choice of the tax rate," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2-3), pages 215-245, April.
  3. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  4. Francisco Jose Veiga & Linda Goncalves Veiga, 2004. "Popularity functions, partisan effects, and support in Parliament," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 101-115, 03.
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  7. Ladd, Helen F., 1991. "Property tax revaluation and tax levy growth revisited," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 83-99, July.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  11. Wrede, Matthias, 2001. "Yardstick competition to tame the Leviathan," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 705-721, November.
  12. Sole Olle, Albert, 2003. "Electoral accountability and tax mimicking: the effects of electoral margins, coalition government, and ideology," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 685-713, November.
  13. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  14. Wassmer, Robert W., 1993. "Property Taxation, Property Base, and Property Value: An Empirical Test of the 'New View'," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 135-59, June.
  15. Revelli, Federico, 2002. "Local taxes, national politics and spatial interactions in English district election results," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 281-299, June.
  16. Craig Brett & Joris Pinkse, 2000. "The determinants of municipal tax rates in British Columbia," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 695-714, August.
  17. Federico Revelli, 2001. "Spatial patterns in local taxation: tax mimicking or error mimicking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1101-1107.
  18. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
  19. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  20. Stuart Landon & David L. Ryan, 1997. "The Political Costs of Taxes and Government Spending," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 85-111, February.
  21. Bloom, Howard S. & Ladd, Helen F., 1982. "Property tax revaluation and tax levy growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 73-84, January.
  22. Bordignon, Massimo & Cerniglia, Floriana & Revelli, Federico, 2004. "Yardstick competition in intergovernmental relationships: theory and empirical predictions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-333, June.
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