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Who do you blame in local finance? An analysis of municipal financing in Italy

Author

Listed:
  • Massimo Bordignon

    () (Università Cattolica, Milano)

  • Veronica Grembi

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Santino Piazza

    () (IRES Piemonte)

Abstract

In a political agency model, we study the effect of introducing a less transparent tax tool for the financing of local governments. We show that lower quality politicians would use more the less transparent tax tool to enhance their probability of re-election. This prediction is tested by studying a reform that in 1999 allowed Italian municipalities to partially substitute a more accountable source of tax revenue (the property tax) with a less transparent one (a surcharge on the personal income tax of residents). Using a Difference in Difference approach, we show that in line with theory, Mayors at their first term in power adopted a higher surcharge on the personal income tax and reduced the property tax rate significantly more than Mayors in their final term.

Suggested Citation

  • Massimo Bordignon & Veronica Grembi & Santino Piazza, 2015. "Who do you blame in local finance? An analysis of municipal financing in Italy," Working papers 36, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipu:wpaper:36
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal federalism; tax transparency; agency Model; property tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

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