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Fiscal Equalisation and the Soft Budget Constraint

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  • Plachta, Robert C.

Abstract

This paper assesses the interactions of horizontal fiscal equalisation schemes with debt policy by sovereign regional governments. Local public goods are either financed by debt or taxation. A horizontal equalisation scheme eleviates regional public revenue disparities under horizontal and vertical tax competition. We show that fiscal equalisation schemes have no impact on the optimal central government grant whereas they can either soften or harden the regional budget constraint depending on the specific formulae. Revenue equalisation softens the budget constraint whereas tax base equalisation hardens the budget constraint of poor states.

Suggested Citation

  • Plachta, Robert C., 2008. "Fiscal Equalisation and the Soft Budget Constraint," FiFo Discussion Papers - Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 08-8, University of Cologne, FiFo Institute for Public Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:uoccpe:7451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
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    4. Huber, Bernd & Runkel, Marco, 2008. "Interregional redistribution and budget institutions under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(12), pages 2350-2361, December.
    5. Marko Köthenbürger, 2002. "Tax Competition and Fiscal Equalization," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(4), pages 391-408, August.
    6. Kornai, J, 1979. "Resource-Constrained versus Demand-Constrained Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 801-819, July.
    7. Rodden, Jonathan, 2003. "Reviving Leviathan: Fiscal Federalism and the Growth of Government," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(04), pages 695-729, September.
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    12. Stähler, Nikolai, 2007. "Taxing deficits to restrain government spending and foster capital accumulation," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2007,26, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    13. Breuille, Marie-Laure & Madies, Thierry & Taugourdeau, Emmanuelle, 2006. "Does tax competition soften regional budget constraint?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 230-236, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal federalism; public debt; soft budget constraint; fiscal equalisation; tax competition;

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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