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Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition

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  • Eugster, Beatrix

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  • Parchet, Raphaël

    ()

Abstract

We propose a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the existence of interjurisdictional tax competition, and to estimate its spatial reach. Our strategy rests on differences between desired tax levels, determined by culture-specific preferences, and equilibrium tax levels, determined by interjurisdictional fiscal externalities as well as by preferences. While fiscal preferences differ systematically and demonstrably between French-speaking and German-speaking Swiss regions, we find that local income tax burdens do not change discretely at the language border but exhibit smooth spatial gradients. The slope of these gradients implies that tax competition constrains tax choices of jurisdictions with a preference for higher taxes up to a distance of around 20 kilometers. Hence, tax competition does constrain income taxation by local governments but its effect is confined to a small spatial scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugster, Beatrix & Parchet, Raphaël, 2013. "Culture and Taxes: Towards Identifying Tax Competition," Economics Working Paper Series 1339, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:econwp:2013:39
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    Keywords

    Tax competition; fiscal federalism; culture;

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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