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The Tax Spending Nexus: Evidence from a Panel of US State-Local Governments

  • Saeid Mahdavi

    (University of Texas at San Antonio)

  • Joakim Westerlund

    (Lund University)

We re-examine the tax-spending nexus using, for the first time, a panel of fifty US state-local government units over the period 1963-97 and panel techniques that allow for cross-sectional dependence. We find that, unlike tax revenues, expenditures adjust to revert back to a long-term equilibrium relationship. The evidence on the short-term dynamics is also consistent with the tax-and-spend hypothesis at the one percent level of significance. One implication of this finding is that the size of the government at the state-local level is not determined by expenditure demand, but rather by resource supply. This is consistent with the fact that many US state and local governments operate under constitutional or legislative limitations that seek to constrain deficits.

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Paper provided by College of Business, University of Texas at San Antonio in its series Working Papers with number 0045.

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Length: 30 pages
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Handle: RePEc:tsa:wpaper:0045
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  1. Joulfaian, David & Mookerjee, Rajen, 1990. "The Intertemporal Relationship between State and Local Government Revenues and Expenditures: Evidence from OECD Countries," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 45(1), pages 109-17.
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  7. Westerlund Joakim, 2006. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Research Memorandum 056, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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  16. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  17. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Whitney K. Newey & Harvey S. Rosen, 1987. "The Revenues-Expenditures Nexus: Evidence from Local Government Data," NBER Working Papers 2180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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