Identifying local tax mimicking: Administrative borders and a policy reform
This paper exploits an exogenous reform of the local fiscal equalization scheme in the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia to identify tax mimicking by municipalities in the neighboring state of Lower Saxony. The spatial lag regressions provide no evidence for the existence of strategic interactions in municipal business and property taxes. In contrast, traditional spatial lag regressions that rely on variation in neighbors' demographic, political, or economic characteristics for identification provide strong evidence for strategic interactions. This pattern of results indicates that most of the extant literature overestimates the importance of local tax mimicking.
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