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From Taxes to Politics, from Politics to Taxes: Evidence of Yardstick Competition in the Italian Municipalities

Author

Listed:
  • Ilaria Petrarca

    (IMT Lucca, Lucca Italy)

  • Fabio Padovano

    (University of Rennes I, CREM-CNRS, Condorcet Center)

Abstract

Strategic interaction in local tax setting is motivated with yardstick competition only when the fiscal decision influences the incumbents’ probability of being re-elected. Most of the previous analyses draw conclusions on yardstick competition without estimating this link or failing to find any empirical support for it. This paper, on the contrary, conducts a comprehensive test of yardstick competition on Italian Municipalities during the period 1995-2004. First, a vote popularity function is estimated. The empirical findings verify the economic voting behavior and are robust to alternative empirical specifications of the dependent variable. Then, a spatial tax setting equation is estimated. The results show a pattern of mimicking driven by a positive spatial lag coefficient and a negative spatial error coefficient. Finally, the estimated spatial correlation coefficients in time are used to investigate the dynamics of strategic interaction. The results depict a quasi monotonic pattern of convergence of the coefficients towards the lowest levels of spatial interaction, suggesting that a progressive reduction of the mimicking behavior of the incumbents has taken place.

Suggested Citation

  • Ilaria Petrarca & Fabio Padovano, 2011. "From Taxes to Politics, from Politics to Taxes: Evidence of Yardstick Competition in the Italian Municipalities," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2011-01-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:tut:cccrwp:2011-01-ccr
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    File URL: https://crem-doc.univ-rennes1.fr/wp/2011/2011-01-ccr.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lars P. Feld & Emmanuelle Reulier, 2009. "Strategic Tax Competition in Switzerland: Evidence from a Panel of the Swiss Cantons," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 91-114, February.
    2. Federico Revelli, 2001. "Spatial patterns in local taxation: tax mimicking or error mimicking?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 1101-1107.
    3. Baltagi, Badi H. & Song, Seuck Heun & Koh, Won, 2003. "Testing panel data regression models with spatial error correlation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 123-150, November.
    4. Barbara ERMINI & Raffaella SANTOLINI, 2007. "Horizontal Interaction on Local Councils' Expenditures. Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 278, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    5. Maarten Allers & J. Elhorst, 2005. "Tax Mimicking and Yardstick Competition Among Local Governments in the Netherlands," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(4), pages 493-513, August.
    6. Massimo Bordignon & Floriana Cerniglia & Federico Revelli, 2002. "In Search for Yardstick Competition: Property Tax Rates and Electoral Behavior in Italian Cities," CESifo Working Paper Series 644, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(1), pages 89-101, March.
    8. Brueckner, Jan K. & Saavedra, Luz A., 2001. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(2), pages 203-230, June.
    9. Heyndels, Bruno & Vuchelen, Jef, 1998. "Tax Mimicking Among Belgian Municipalities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 1), pages 89-101, March.
    10. Giuseppe Arbia & Roberto Basile & Gianfranco Piras, 2005. "Using Spatial Panel Data in Modelling Regional Growth and Convergence," ISAE Working Papers 55, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
    11. Kapoor, Mudit & Kelejian, Harry H. & Prucha, Ingmar R., 2007. "Panel data models with spatially correlated error components," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 97-130, September.
    12. Revelli, Federico, 2002. "Local taxes, national politics and spatial interactions in English district election results," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 281-299, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Padovano, Fabio & Petrarca, Ilaria, 2014. "Are the responsibility and yardstick competition hypotheses mutually consistent?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 459-477.
    2. Fabio Padovano, 2013. "Are we witnessing a paradigm shift in the analysis of political competition?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 631-651, September.
    3. Barbara Ermini & Fabio Fiorillo & Raffaela Santolini, 2013. "Environmental protection, land-use regulation and local government taxation: theory and evidence on Italian municipalities," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(2), pages 93-112.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Yardstick competition; vote popularity function; spatial panel regression;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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