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Vertical aspects of sub-national deficits: the impact of fiscal rules and tax autonomy in European countries

  • Foremny, Dirk

This article offers an empirical answer to the question of which institutional arrangements can help to keep the accounts of sub-national governments in balance. I take into consideration the autonomy that these governments have in raising their revenues and fiscal rules as formulated in law or constitutions. The former works as an implicit constraint since governments with more autonomy might assume higher responsibility for accumulated deficits. The latter works as a direct explicit constraint on sub-national borrowing, but might be subject to endogeneity through preferences for fiscal responsibility. This potential source of bias is taken into account by using IV techniques for fiscal rules. Results from my original dataset, covering full information for 14 years of all EU15 countries, show that the effectiveness of tools depends critically on the federal background. Fiscal rules work in unitary countries, while higher tax autonomy yields lower deficits in federations.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32998.

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Date of creation: 26 Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32998
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  1. Janos Kornai & Eric Maskin & Gerard Roland, 2002. "Understanding the Soft Budget Constraint," Economics Working Papers 0019, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  2. Douglas Sutherland & Robert W.R. Price & Isabelle Joumard, 2005. "Fiscal Rules for Sub-central Governments: Design and Impact," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 465, OECD Publishing.
  3. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Madies, Thierry & Taugourdeau, Emmanuelle, 2006. "Does tax competition soften regional budget constraint?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 230-236, February.
  4. Timothy Goodspeed, 2002. "Bailouts in a Federation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 409-421, August.
  5. Xavier Debrun & Laurent Moulin & Alessandro Turrini & Joaquim Ayuso-i-Casals & Manmohan S. Kumar, 2008. "Tied to the mast? National fiscal rules in the European Union," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 23, pages 297-362, 04.
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  7. Hallerberg, Mark & Strauch, Rolf & von Hagen, Jurgen, 2007. "The design of fiscal rules and forms of governance in European Union countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 338-359, June.
  8. Breuillé, Marie-Laure & Vigneault, Marianne, 2010. "Overlapping soft budget constraints," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 259-269, May.
  9. Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
  10. Kothenburger, Marko, 2007. "Ex-post redistribution in a federation: Implications for corrective policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 481-496, April.
  11. Bruno, Giovanni S.F., 2005. "Approximating the bias of the LSDV estimator for dynamic unbalanced panel data models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(3), pages 361-366, June.
  12. Per Pettersson-Lidbom, 2010. "Dynamic Commitment and the Soft Budget Constraint: An Empirical Test," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 154-79, August.
  13. Jürgen Von Hagen & Massimo Bordignon & Bhajan S. Grewal & Per Peterson & Helmut Seitz & Matz Dahlberg, 2000. "Subnational Government Bailouts in OECD Countries: Four Case Studies," Research Department Publications 3100, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Mark Hallerberg & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Electoral Institutions, Cabinet Negotiations, and Budget Deficits in the European Union," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 209-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alexander Plekhanov & Raju Singh, 2006. "How Should Subnational Government Borrowing Be Regulated?Some Cross-Country Empirical Evidence," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 53(3), pages 4.
  16. Jonathan A. Rodden & Gunnar S. Eskeland (ed.), 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and the Challenge of Hard Budget Constraints," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182297, June.
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