IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ifr/wpaper/2006-04.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance

Author

Listed:
  • Robin Boadway

    (Department of Economics, Queen’s University)

  • Jean-Francois Tremblay

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa)

Abstract

This paper examines how sequential decision-making by two levels of government can result in vertical fiscal imbalances (VFI). Federal-regional transfers serve to equalize the marginal cost of public funds between regions hit by different shocks. The optimal vertical fiscal gap minimizes the efficiency cost of taxation in the federation as a whole. The analysis shows how the existence of vertical fiscal externalities, leading regional governments to overprovide public goods, can induce the federal government to create a VFI by selecting transfers that differ from the optimal fiscal gap. When the federal government can commit to its policies before regional governments select their level of expenditures, the VFI will generally be negative. In the absence of commitment, the equilibrium transfer is unambiguously larger than the optimal fiscal gap, resulting in a positive VFI. In an intertemporal setting, the VFI has implications for the sharing of debt between the federal and regional governments.

Suggested Citation

  • Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2005. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 2006-04, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-04
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ifigr.org/publication/ifir_working_papers/IFIR-WP-2006-04.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Johnson, William R, 1988. "Income Redistribution in a Federal System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 570-573, June.
    2. J. Kornai & E. Maskin & G. Roland., 2004. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
    3. Hindriks, Jean & Lockwood, Ben, 2009. "Decentralization and electoral accountability: Incentives, separation and voter welfare," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 385-397, September.
    4. Richard M Bird & Andrey V Tarasov, 2004. "Closing the Gap: Fiscal Imbalances and Intergovernmental Transfers in Developed Federations," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 22(1), pages 77-102, February.
    5. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Bureaucratic Advice and Political Governance," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(4), pages 503-527, August.
    6. Sam Bucovetsky & Michael Smart, 2006. "The Efficiency Consequences of Local Revenue Equalization: Tax Competition and Tax Distortions," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 8(1), pages 119-144, January.
    7. Clifford J. Carrubba & Matthew Gabel, 2005. "Do Governments Sway European Court of Justice Decision-making?: Evidence from Government Court Briefs," Working Papers 2005-06, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    8. Michael Keen, 1998. "Vertical Tax Externalities in the Theory of Fiscal Federalism," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(3), pages 454-485, September.
    9. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Vigneault, Marianne, 1998. "The consequences of overlapping tax bases for redistribution and public spending in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 453-478, June.
    10. Matthew Gabel & Kenneth Scheve, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of Elite Communications on Public Opinion Using Instrumental Variables," Working Papers 2005-02, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    11. Lockwood, Ben, 1999. "Inter-regional insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 1-37, April.
    12. William Hoyt, 2005. "The Assignment and Division of the Tax Base in a System of Hierarchical Governments," Working Papers 2005-07, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    13. Massimo Bordignon & Paolo Manasse & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Optimal Regional Redistribution under Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 709-723, June.
    14. David E. Wildasin, 2005. "Fiscal Competition," Working Papers 2005-05, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    15. B. Dahlby & L. S. Wilson, 1994. "Fiscal Capacity, Tax Effort, and Optimal Equalization Grants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 657-672, August.
    16. Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2005. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 2006-04, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    17. Masayoshi Hayashi & Robin Boadway, 2001. "An empirical analysis of intergovernmental tax interaction: the case of business income taxes in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 481-503, May.
    18. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
    19. Wildasin, David E., 2004. "The Institutions of Federalism: Toward an Analytical Framework," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 247-272, June.
    20. Bev Dahlby, 1996. "Fiscal externalities and the design of intergovernmental grants," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(3), pages 397-412, July.
    21. Kothenburger, Marko, 2004. "Tax competition in a fiscal union with decentralized leadership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 498-513, May.
    22. Buettner, Thiess & Wildasin, David E., 2006. "The dynamics of municipal fiscal adjustment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1115-1132, August.
    23. Dahlby, Bev & Wilson, Leonard S., 2003. "Vertical fiscal externalities in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 917-930, May.
    24. David E. Wildasin, 2006. "Global Competition for Mobile Resources: Implications for Equity, Efficiency and Political Economy," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(1), pages 61-110, March.
    25. Robin Boadway & Michael Keen, 1996. "Efficiency and the optimal direction of federal-state transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(2), pages 137-155, May.
    26. Michael J. Keen & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2002. "Does Federalism Lead to Excessively High Taxes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 363-370, March.
    27. Clifford J. Carrubba & Matthew Gabel & Lacey Murrah & Ryan Clough & Elizabeth Montgomery & Rebecca Schambach, 2005. "National Party Politics and Supranational Politics in the European Union: New Evidence from the European Parliament," Working Papers 2005-04, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    28. Walter Hettich & Stanley L. Winer, 1986. "Vertical Imbalance in the Fiscal Systems of Federal States," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 19(4), pages 745-765, November.
    29. Michael Smart, 1998. "Taxation and Deadweight Loss in a System of Intergovernmental Transfers," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 31(1), pages 189-206, February.
    30. Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2005. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 2006-04, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    31. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 979-1009, October.
    32. William H. Hoyt & J. William Harden, 2005. "MSA Location and the Impact of State Taxes on Employment and Population: A Comparison of Border and Interior MSA's," Working Papers 2005-01, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    33. Marton, James & Wildasin, David E., 2007. "State government cash and in-kind benefits: Intergovernmental fiscal transfers and cross-program substitution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-20, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hikaru Ogawa & David E. Wildasin, 2009. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1206-1217, September.
    2. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9435-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael Hofmann & Gerhard Kempkes & Helmut Seitz, 2008. "Demographic Change and Public Sector Budgets in a Federal System," CESifo Working Paper Series 2317, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. C. Rangarajan & D. K. Srivastava, 2008. "Reforming India’s Fiscal Transfer System : Resolving Vertical and Horizontal Imbalances," Finance Working Papers 22509, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Diego Martinez-Lopez & Tomas Sjöngren, 2014. "Vertical externalities with lump-sum taxes: how much difference does unemployment make?," European Journal of Government and Economics, Europa Grande, vol. 3(1), pages 75-87, June.
    6. Wildasin, David E., 2007. "Pre–Emption: Federal Statutory Intervention in State Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(3), pages 649-662, September.
    7. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2010. "Beyond Gaps and Imbalances: Re-Structuring the Debate on Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations," MPRA Paper 32145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Kothenburger, Marko, 2007. "Ex-post redistribution in a federation: Implications for corrective policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 481-496, April.
    9. Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2005. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 2006-04, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    10. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Cristian Sepulveda, 2012. "Toward a More General Theory of Revenue Assignments," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1231, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    11. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Fiscal Equalization and Yardstick Competition," Working Papers 2006-15, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
    12. repec:eee:ecosys:v:42:y:2018:i:2:p:175-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Dahlby, Bev & Rodden, Jonathan & Wilson, Sam, 2009. "A Median Voter Model of the Vertical Fiscal Gap," Working Papers 2009-14, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    14. Robin Boadway & Jean-François Tremblay, 2006. "A Theory of Fiscal Imbalance," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(1), pages 1-27, March.
    15. Toshihiro Ihori, 2014. "Commitment, Deficit Ceiling, and Fiscal Privilege," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(4), pages 511-526, December.
    16. Boadway, Robin & Song, Zhen & Tremblay, Jean-François, 2013. "Non-cooperative pollution control in an inter-jurisdictional setting," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 783-796.
    17. Toshihiro Ihori, 2011. "Overlapping tax revenue, soft budget, and rent seeking," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 18(1), pages 36-55, February.
    18. Eyraud, Luc & Lusinyan, Lusine, 2013. "Vertical fiscal imbalances and fiscal performance in advanced economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 571-587.
    19. Boadway, Robin & Tremblay, Jean-François, 2012. "Reassessment of the Tiebout model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 1063-1078.
    20. José Manuel Cordero Ferrera & Francisco Pedraja Chaparro & Javier Suárez Pandiello & Alfonso Utrilla de la Hoz, 2013. "El índice de evolución de los ingresos tributarios del Estado y sus efectos sobre la PIE municipal," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 206(3), pages 137-161, September.
    21. C. Rangarajan & D. K. Srivastava, 2008. "Reforming India’S Fiscal Transfer System: Resolving Vertical And Horizontal Imbalances," Working Papers 2008-031, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    22. Koethenbuerger, Marko, 2008. "Federal tax-transfer policy and intergovernmental pre-commitment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 16-31, January.
    23. Sotiris Karkalakos & Christos Kotsogiannis, 2007. "A spatial analysis of provincial corporate income tax responses: evidence from Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(3), pages 782-811, August.
    24. Bev Dahlby & Jonathan Rodden, 2013. "A political economy model of the vertical fiscal gap and vertical fiscal imbalances in a federation," Working Papers 2013/18, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David E. Wildasin). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/spukyus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.