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Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition


  • Timothy Besley
  • Anne Case


This paper presents a theoretical and empirical investigation of tax competition when voters use the tax policy of neighboring jurisdictions as information to evaluate the performance of their incumbent politicians. We show that this has implications both for voter tolerance of high taxes and for the process of tax setting itself, Our empirical results, which use two different tax data sets, confirm the importance of neighbors' taxes both on the probability of incumbent reelection and on tax setting behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4041
    Note: PE

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    1. Epple, Dennis & Zelenitz, Allan, 1981. "The Implications of Competition among Jurisdictions: Does Tiebout Need Politics?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1197-1217, December.
    2. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-959, July.
    3. Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1987. "The economics of the local public sector," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 11, pages 571-645 Elsevier.
    4. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
    5. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
    6. Case, Anne C, 1991. "Spatial Patterns in Household Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 953-965, July.
    7. Sundadam, R.K. & Banks, J., 1991. "Adverse Selection and Moral hazard in a Repeated Elections Models," RCER Working Papers 283, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    8. Henderson, J Vernon, 1985. "The Tiebout Model: Bring Back the Entrepreneurs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 248-264, April.
    9. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas & Filimon, Radu, 1988. "Community development with endogenous land use controls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 133-162, March.
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