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Does Tax Competition Tame the Leviathan?

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  • Marius BRÜLHART
  • Mario JAMETTI

Abstract

We study the impact of tax competition on equilibrium taxes and welfare, focusing on the jurisdictional fragmentation of federations. In a representative-agent model of fiscal federalism, fragmentation among jurisdictions with benevolent tax-setting authorities unambiguously reduces welfare. If, however, tax-setting authorities pursue revenue maximization, fragmentation, by pushing down equilibrium tax rates, may under certain conditions increase citizen welfare. We exploit the highly decentralized and heterogeneous Swiss fiscal system as a laboratory for the estimation of these effects. While for purely direct-democratic jurisdictions (which we associate with benevolent tax setting) we find that tax rates increase in fragmentation, fragmentation has a moderating effect on the tax rates of jurisdictions with some degree of delegated government. Our results thereby support the view that tax competition can be second-best welfare enhancing by constraining the scope for public-sector revenue maximization.

Suggested Citation

  • Marius BRÜLHART & Mario JAMETTI, 2007. "Does Tax Competition Tame the Leviathan?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 07.09, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:07.09
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    Cited by:

    1. Beatrix Eugster & Raphaël Parchet, 2011. "Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 11.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    2. Joan Costa-i-Font & Filipe De-Albuquerque & Hristos Doucouliagos, 2011. "How Significant are Fiscal Interactions in Federations? A Meta-Regression Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3517, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Grégoire ROTA-GRAZIOSI & Emilie CALDEIRA, 2014. "La décentralisation dans les pays en développement : une revue de la littérature - Decentralization in developing countries: A literature review," Working Papers 201411, CERDI.
    4. Nicole Aregger & Martin Brown & Enzo Rossi, 2013. "Transaction Taxes, Capital Gains Taxes and House Prices," Working Papers 2013-02, Swiss National Bank.
    5. Mario Jametti & Marcelin Joanis, 2016. "Electoral Competition as a Determinant of Fiscal Decentralisation," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 285-300, June.
    6. Kangsik, Choi, 2009. "Privatization, Government's Preference and Unionization Structure: A Mixed Oligopoly Approach," MPRA Paper 13028, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Kangsik Choi & Yuanzhu Lu, 2009. "A Model Of Endogenous Payoff Motives And Endogenous Timing In A Mixed Duopoly ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(3), pages 203-223, September.
    8. Mario Jametti, 2014. "Tax Competition and Direct Democracy in Local Public Finance - Empirical Work on Switzerland," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 12(1), pages 12-17, 04.
    9. Luca Salvadori & José María Durán-Cabré & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2012. "Regional Competition On Tax Administration," ERSA conference papers ersa12p184, European Regional Science Association.
    10. repec:ses:arsjes:2017-ii-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Choi, Kangsik, 2009. "Government's Preference and Timing of Endogenous Wage Setting: Perspectives on Privatization and Mixed Duopoly," MPRA Paper 17221, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Caldeira, Emilie, 2012. "Yardstick competition in a federation: Theory and evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 878-897.
    13. Krishanu Karmakar & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2014. "Fiscal Competition versus Fiscal Harmonization: A Review of the Arguments," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1431, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    14. Kangsik, Choi, 2009. "Endogenous Timing with Government's Preference and Privatization," MPRA Paper 13844, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Mario Jametti, 2014. "Weathering the Global Financial Crisis - Is Direct Democracy of any Help?," IdEP Economic Papers 1405, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
    16. Redoano, Michela, 2014. "Tax competition among European countries. Does the EU matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 353-371.
    17. Funk, Patricia & Gathmann, Christina, 2013. "Voter preferences, direct democracy and government spending," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 300-319.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax competition; optimal taxation; government preferences; fiscal federalism; direct democracy;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

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