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Fiscal federalism and tax enforcement

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  • Bönke, Timm
  • Joachimsen, Beate
  • Schröder, Carsten

Abstract

In many countries organized as federations, fiscal-equalization schemes have been implemented to mitigate vertical or horizontal imbalances. Such schemes usually imply that the member states of the federation can only partly internalize marginal tax revenue before redistribution. Aside from this internalized revenue, referred to as the marginal tax-back rate, the remainder is redistributed. We investigate the extent to which extent state-level authorities in such federation under-exploit their tax bases. By means of a stylized model we show that the member states have an incentive to align the effective tax rates on their residents with the level of the tax-back rate. We empirically test the model using state-level and micro-level taxpayer data, OLS regressions and natural experiments. Our empirical findings support the results from our theoretical model. Particularly, we find that states with a higher marginal tax-back rate exploit the tax base to a higher extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Bönke, Timm & Joachimsen, Beate & Schröder, Carsten, 2015. "Fiscal federalism and tax enforcement," Discussion Papers 2015/15, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201515
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    Cited by:

    1. Krause, Manuela & Büttner, Thiess, 2017. "Does Fiscal Equalization Lead to Higher Tax Rates? Empirical Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168214, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Boysen-Hogrefe, Jens, 2018. "Trotz voller Kassen: Nicht jedes Wahlversprechen im nächsten Koalitionsvertrag umsetzen!," Kiel Policy Brief 112, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    3. Prof Thiess Büttner & Manuela Krause, 2018. "Fiscal Equalization as a Driver of Tax Increases: Empirical Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 7260, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal federalism; fiscal externalities; natural experiment; treatment analysis; statistical matching;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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