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Using a discontinuous grant rule to identify the effect of grants on local taxes and spending

  • Matz Dahlberg

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden and CESifo)

  • Eva Mörk

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

  • Jørn Rattsø

    (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway)

  • Hanna Ågren

    (Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)

When investigating the effects of federal grants on the behavior of lower-level governments, it is hard to defend the handling of grants as an exogenous factor affecting local governments; federal governments often set grants based on characteristics and performance of local governments. In this paper we make use of a discontinuity in the Swedish grant system in order to estimate the causal effects of general intergovernmental grants on local spending and local tax rates. The formula for the distribution of funds is used as an exclusion restriction in an IV-estimation. We find evidence of crowding-in, where federal grants are shifted to more local spending, but not to reduced local tax rates. Our results thus confirm a flypaper effect for Sweden.

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Paper provided by University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations in its series Working Papers with number 2006-12.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-12
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  1. Bradford, David F & Oates, Wallace E, 1971. "Towards a Predictive Theory of Intergovernmental Grants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 440-48, May.
  2. Jonathan Guryan, 2001. "Does Money Matter? Regression-Discontinuity Estimates from Education Finance Reform in Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 8269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gamkhar, Shama & Oates, Wallace E., 1996. "Asymmetries in the Response to Increases and Decreases in Intergovernmental Grants: Some Empirical Findings," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 501-12, December.
  4. Gordon, Nora, 2004. "Do federal grants boost school spending? Evidence from Title I," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1771-1792, August.
  5. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  6. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  7. Johansson, Eva, 2003. "Intergovernmental grants as a tactical instrument: empirical evidence from Swedish municipalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 883-915, May.
  8. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 2000. "An examination of the dynamic behaviour of local governments using GMM bootstrapping methods," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 401-416.
  9. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Becker, Elizabeth, 1996. " The Illusion of Fiscal Illusion: Unsticking the Flypaper Effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 86(1-2), pages 85-102, January.
  11. Joshua D. Angrist & Victor Lavy, 1999. "Using Maimonides' Rule To Estimate The Effect Of Class Size On Scholastic Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 533-575, May.
  12. Bergstrom, Pal & Dahlberg, Matz & Mork, Eva, 2004. "The effects of grants and wages on municipal labour demand," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 315-334, June.
  13. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  14. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 1998. "The revenues-expenditures nexus: panel data evidence from Swedish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(10), pages 1379-1386.
  15. Bradford, David F & Oates, Wallace E, 1971. "An Analysis of Revenue Sharing in a New Approach to Collective Fiscal Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 416-39, August.
  16. Turnbull, Geoffrey K., 1998. "The Overspending and Flypaper Effects of Fiscal Illusion: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 1-26, July.
  17. Dahlberg, Matz & Lindstrom, Tomas, 1998. "Are Local Governments Governed by Forward Looking Decision Makers?: An Investigation of Spending Patterns in Swedish Municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 254-271, September.
  18. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2002. "An Evaluation of Instrumental Variable Strategies for Estimating the Effects of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 9358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. James R. Hines & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "The Flypaper Effect," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 217-226, Fall.
  20. Brian Knight, 2002. "Endogenous Federal Grants and Crowd-out of State Government Spending: Theory and Evidence from the Federal Highway Aid Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 71-92, March.
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