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Are Local Tax Rates Strategic Complements or Substitutes?

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  • Raphael Parchet

Abstract

The identification of strategic interactions among local governments is typically plagued by endogeneity problems. This paper proposes a quasi-experimental strategy to identify independent personal income tax setting by Swiss municipalities making use of the multi-tier federal system. State (cantonal) borders spatially bound the effects of canton-level fiscal reforms in areas that are otherwise highly integrated. Fiscal reforms at the canton level provide an exogenous source of variation in municipal tax rates, and are thus a valid instrument to identify strategic interactions among municipalities located at a cantonal border. In contrast to most of the existing empirical literature, I find that tax reaction functions have a negative slope and that taxes rates are strategic substitutes rather than strategic complements. This is compatible with a model of local tax setting in which governments primarily target expenditure rather than tax receipts. JEL codes: H24, H71, H77 Keywords: tax competition, fiscal federalism

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Parchet, 2012. "Are Local Tax Rates Strategic Complements or Substitutes?," ERSA conference papers ersa12p313, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa12p313
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    Cited by:

    1. Keuschnigg, Christian & Loretz, Simon & Winner, Hannes, 2014. "Tax Competition and Tax Coordination in the European Union: A Survey," Economics Working Paper Series 1427, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    2. Martinez, Isabel Z., 2016. "Beggar-Thy-Neighbour Tax Cuts: Mobility after a Local Income and Wealth Tax Reform in Switzerland," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145643, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2015. "Tax mimicking in the short- and the long-run: Evidence from German reunification," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113088, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Blesse, Sebastian & Martin, Thorsten, 2015. "Let's stay in touch - evidence on the role of social learning in local tax interactions," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-081, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Anping Chen & Marlon Boarnet & Mark Partridge & Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2014. "Interjurisdictional Tax Competition In China," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 606-628, September.
    6. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2013. "The economics and empirics of tax competition: A survey," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 163, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    7. Christoph Basten & Maximilian Ehrlich & Andrea Lassmann, 2017. "Income Taxes, Sorting and the Costs of Housing: Evidence from Municipal Boundaries in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(601), pages 653-687, May.
    8. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2013. "Identifying local tax mimicking: Administrative borders and a policy reform," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 157, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    9. Agrawal, David R., 2016. "Local fiscal competition: An application to sales taxation with multiple federations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 122-138.
    10. Michael P. Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2013. "What Do We Know About Corporate Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(3), pages 745-774, September.
    11. Renaud Bourlès & Michael T. Dorsch & Paul Maarek, 2019. "Income Taxation and the Diversity of Consumer Goods: A Political Economy Approach," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 121(3), pages 960-993, July.
    12. Baskaran, Thushyanthan, 2014. "Identifying local tax mimicking with administrative borders and a policy reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 41-51.
    13. Christoph Basten & Maximilian von Ehrlich & Andrea Lassmann, 2014. "Income Taxes, Sorting, and the Costs of Housing," KOF Working papers 14-362, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax competition; fiscal federalism;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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