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

  • Lars-Erik Borge

    ()

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

  • Jørn Rattsø

    ()

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

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.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology in its series Working Paper Series with number 7606.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 19 Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nst:samfok:7606
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  1. 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.
  2. Boadway, Robin & Horiba, Isao & Jha, Raghbendra, 1999. " The Provision of Public Services by Government Funded Decentralized Agencies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(3-4), pages 157-84, September.
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  9. Brennan, Geoffrey & Buchanan, James M., 1978. "Tax instruments as constraints on the disposition of public revenues," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 301-318, June.
  10. 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.
  11. John Joseph Wallis & Richard E. Sylla & John B. Legler, 1994. "The Interaction of Taxation and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Banking," NBER Chapters, in: The Regulated Economy: A Historical Approach to Political Economy, pages 121-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Fischel, William A., 2001. "Homevoters, Municipal Corporate Governance, and the Benefit View of the Property Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 1), pages 157-74, March.
  13. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  14. Jon Fiva & Jørn Rattsø, 2007. "Local choice of property taxation: evidence from Norway," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(3), pages 457-470, September.
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  17. Cullis, J G & Jones, P R & Morrissey, O, 1991. "Public Choice Perspectives on the Poll Tax," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 600-614, May.
  18. Poterba, James M, 1994. "State Responses to Fiscal Crises: The Effects of Budgetary Institutions and Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 799-821, August.
  19. Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The Relationships between Cost and User Charges: The Case of the Norwegian Utility Service," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(1), pages 98-, March.
  20. Falch, Torberg & Rattso, Jorn, 1999. "Local public choice of school spending: disaggregating the demand function for educational services," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 361-373, June.
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  23. 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.
  24. Jon H. Fiva & Marte Rønning, 2006. "The Incentive Effects of Property Taxation: Evidence from Norwegian School Districts," Discussion Papers 484, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  25. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521233293 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Jorid Kalseth & Jørn Rattsø, 1998. "Political Control of Administrative Spending: The Case of Local Governments in Norway," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 63-83, 03.
  27. Niskanen, William A, 1975. "Bureaucrats and Politicians," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 617-43, December.
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