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Property taxation as incentive for cost control:Empirical evidence for utility services in Norway

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  • Lars-Erik Borge

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

  • Jørn Rattsø

    () (Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Abstract

Recent theoretical research suggests that property taxation has incentive effects that can help control cost problems in the public sector. The institutional setting in Norway allows this first empirical investigation of the incentive effect of property taxation, since we can separate between local governments with and without property tax. The raw data of the variation in the unit cost level for utilities show that local governments with property tax have about 20% lower unit cost. Using both linear regression and propensity score matching, we are not able to wash out the difference in unit costs. Our interpretation is that having a visible and controversial local tax related to property stimulates voter interest in local government activities and thereby may help cost control. The incentive effect is of interest for the design of fiscal federalism.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2006. "Property taxation as incentive for cost control:Empirical evidence for utility services in Norway," Working Paper Series 7606, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  • Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:7606
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    Cited by:

    1. Fiva, Jon H. & Rønning, Marte, 2008. "The incentive effects of property taxation: Evidence from Norwegian school districts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 49-62, January.
    2. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:654-688 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Sergio Beraldo & Massimo Bordignon & Simone Pellegrino & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2017. "Fiscally Responsible Mafia-clans," Working papers 043, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
    4. Francese, Maura & Piacenza, Massimiliano & Romanelli, Marzia & Turati, Gilberto, 2014. "Understanding inappropriateness in health spending: The role of regional policies and institutions in caesarean deliveries," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 262-277.
    5. Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti, 2017. "The influence of decentralized taxes and intergovernmental grants on local spending volatility," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(4), pages 507-522, April.
    6. Maura Francese & Massimiliano Piacenza & Marzia Romanelli & Gilberto Turati, 2011. "Understanding Inappropriateness in Health Care: The Role of Supply Structure, Pricing Policies and Political Institutions in Caesarean Deliveries," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1439, European Regional Science Association.
    7. Jørn Rattsø & Jon Hernes Fiva, 2005. "Decentralization with Property Taxation to Improve Incentives: Evidence from Local Governments’ Discrete Choice," Working Paper Series 5305, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, revised 02 Sep 2005.
    8. Marte Rønning & Jon Hernes Fiva, 2004. "Property Taxation as a Determinant of School District Efficiency," Working Paper Series 5105, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, revised 14 Jul 2005.
    9. Sánchez-Braza, Antonio & Pablo-Romero, María del P., 2014. "Evaluation of property tax bonus to promote solar thermal systems in Andalusia (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 832-843.
    10. Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2001. "Income Distribution and Tax Structure: Microeconomic Test of the Meltzer-Richard Hypothesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 543, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
    12. Sergio Beraldo & Massimiliano Piacenza & Gilberto Turati, 2012. "Fiscal Decentralization In Weak Institutional Environments," Post-Print halshs-00706970, HAL.
    13. Paolo Liberati & Agnese Sacchi, 2013. "Tax decentralization and local government size," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 183-205, October.
    14. Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2003. "The Relationships Between Costs and User Charges: The Case of a Norwegian Utility Service," CESifo Working Paper Series 1033, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. Torberg Falch & Astrid Marie Jorde Sandsør & Bjarne Strøm, 2017. "Do Smaller Classes Always Improve Students’ Long-run Outcomes?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 654-688, October.
    16. Presbitero, Andrea F. & Sacchi, Agnese & Zazzaro, Alberto, 2014. "Property tax and fiscal discipline in OECD countries," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 428-433.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Property tax; incentive effects; public sector costs; matching;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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