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Fiscal Illusion at the Local Sphere: An Empirical Test of the Flypaper Effect using South African Municipal Data

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  • Hammed Amusa
  • Robert Mabunda
  • Ramos Mabugu

Abstract

Despite South Africa’s relatively decentralized governance and administrative structure, an important feature of the country’s intergovernmental fiscal relations system is the gap that exists between the expenditure responsibilities of sub-national authorities and their assigned revenue bases. The resulting vertical fiscal imbalance is mainly addressed via significant intergovernmental transfers to provinces and local governments. This factor presents strong a priori grounds in assuming that in the South African context, the heavy dependence of many local governments on intergovernmental transfers may generate fiscal illusion. Despite this, no significant effort has been geared towards an empirical investigation of the issue of fiscal illusion. This paper extends existing literature on the empirical analysis of fiscal illusion by using the fiscal year 2005/06 financial and expenditure data from 237 local government authorities in South Africa to evaluate the flypaper variant of the fiscal illusion hypothesis. Empirical results indicate that the marginal effects of municipal own-source revenues on local expenditure exceed those of intergovernmental transfers. This outcome yields no statistical evidence in support of the flypaper hypothesis within the context of municipal expenditures in South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Hammed Amusa & Robert Mabunda & Ramos Mabugu, 2008. "Fiscal Illusion at the Local Sphere: An Empirical Test of the Flypaper Effect using South African Municipal Data," Working Papers 72, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  • Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:72
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    Cited by:

    1. Niek J. Schoeman, 2011. "Fiscal Performance and Sustainability of Local Government in South Africa — An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 201104, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergovernmental Transfers; Fiscal Illusion; Flypaper E¤ect; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • 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
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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