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Fiscal Harmonization: Credible Goal or Trojan Horse?

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  • Enrico Colombatto

    () (Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino, Italy)

Abstract

The supply-side literature underscores two main concepts. Taxation usually harms growth and fiscal competition provides effective protection against excessive fiscal pressure. Understandably, governments tend to dislike fiscal competition, and strive to create fiscal cartels justified by the general principle of fiscal harmonization. This paper argues that, from the policymakers' standpoint, fiscal harmonization is inferior to automatic exchange of information among fiscal authorities and also to schemes of anonymous withholding taxes. By contrast, fiscal harmonization could be a useful instrument that international bureaucrats resort to in order to obtain fiscal centralization. We conclude that their chances to succeed largely depend on the rent-seeking strategies pursued by the national decision-makers and on the perceived legitimacy of the federal authorities.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Colombatto, 2012. "Fiscal Harmonization: Credible Goal or Trojan Horse?," Working papers 010, Department of Economics and Statistics (Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche), University of Torino.
  • Handle: RePEc:tur:wpapnw:010
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/tur/wpapnw/m10.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 147-174, Fall.
    2. Hannes Winner, 2005. "Has Tax Competition Emerged in OECD Countries? Evidence from Panel Data," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(5), pages 667-687, September.
    3. Benno Torgler & Friedrich Schneider, 2007. "What Shapes Attitudes Toward Paying Taxes? Evidence from Multicultural European Countries," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 88(2), pages 443-470.
    4. Feige, Edgar L & McGee, Robert T, 1983. " Sweden's Laffer Curve: Taxation and the Unobserved Economy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(4), pages 499-519.
    5. Andreas Bergh & Magnus Henrekson, 2011. "Government Size And Growth: A Survey And Interpretation Of The Evidence," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(5), pages 872-897, December.
    6. Aleksandra Riedl & Silvia Rocha-Akis, 2012. "How elastic are national corporate income tax bases in OECD countries? The role of domestic and foreign tax rates," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(2), pages 632-671, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Laffer curve; taxation; fiscal harmonization; legitimacy; consensus; rent-seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues

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