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Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities
[Politische Zersplitterung und erwartete Steuereinnahmen: Empirische Belege aus flämischen Gemeinden]

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  • Goeminne, Stijn
  • Geys, Benny
  • Smolders, Carine

Abstract

The level of revenues pocketed by a government during the fiscal year often deviates from that projected by this government in its budget. Despite a flourishing literature on, for example, the technical or procedural determinants of such forecast errors, little is yet known about how political stratagems may affect forecast errors. In the present paper, we analyse whether differences in the level of government fragmentation are useful in explaining local government tax revenue forecast errors – controlling for various other factors. Using data on 242 Flemish municipalities for the period 1992-2002, we find that two-party governments are more optimistic than single-party governments. In contrast to our initial expectations, governments with at least three parties are significantly more careful (or less optimistic) in their revenue projections than single- or twoparty governments.

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  • Goeminne, Stijn & Geys, Benny & Smolders, Carine, 2007. "Political fragmentation and projected tax revenues: evidence from Flemish municipalities [Politische Zersplitterung und erwartete Steuereinnahmen: Empirische Belege aus flämischen Gemeinden]," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2007-03, WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmpg:spii200703
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    2. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Christoph Schinke, 2017. "Manipulating Fiscal Forecasts: Evidence from the German States," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 73(2), pages 213-236, June.
    3. Kristien Werck & Bruno Heyndels & Benny Geys, 2008. "The impact of ‘central places’ on spatial spending patterns: evidence from Flemish local government cultural expenditures," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 32(1), pages 35-58, March.
    4. Chatagny, Florian, 2015. "Incentive effects of fiscal rules on the finance minister's behavior: Evidence from revenue projections in Swiss Cantons," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 184-200.
    5. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
    6. Joaquín Artés & Ignacio Jurado, 2018. "Government fragmentation and fiscal deficits: a regression discontinuity approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 175(3), pages 367-391, June.
    7. Geys Benny & Revelli Federico, 2009. "Decentralization, competition and the local tax mix: Evidence from Flanders," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200902, University of Turin.
    8. Geys, Benny, 2006. "Looking across borders: A test of spatial policy interdependence using local government efficiency ratings," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 443-462, November.
    9. J. Stephen Ferris & Stanley L. Winer & Bernard Grofman, 2016. "The Duverger-Demsetz Perspective on Electoral Competitiveness and Fragmentation: With Application to the Canadian Parliamentary System, 1867–2011," Studies in Political Economy, in: Maria Gallego & Norman Schofield (ed.), The Political Economy of Social Choices, pages 93-122, Springer.
    10. Boukari, Mamadou & Veiga, Francisco José, 2018. "Disentangling political and institutional determinants of budget forecast errors: A comparative approach," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1030-1045.
    11. Cabaleiro Casal, Roberto & Buch Gómez, Enrique J. & Vaamonde Liste, Antonio, 2014. "Financial Situation And Political Parties In Local Governments: Empirical Evidence In The Spanish Municipalities / Situación Financiera Y Partidos Políticos En Los Gobiernos Locales: Evidencia Empíric," Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEE), Academia Europea de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (AEDEM), vol. 20(3), pages 110-121.
    12. Zhiyong An & Yilin Hou, 2020. "Debt authority and intentional overstatement of budgetary deficit: evidence from Chinese Provinces," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(2), pages 461-477, April.
    13. Raymond (R.H.J.M.) Gradus & Elbert (E.) Dijkgraaf, 2017. "Dutch Municipalities are Becoming Greener: Some Political and Institutional Explanations," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-086/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Stefanie Vanneste & Stijn Goeminne, 2020. "The role of the past in public policy: empirical evidence of the long-term effect of past policy and politics on the local budget balance," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 75-99, March.
    15. B. Buylen & J. Christiaens, 2012. "Why do some party leaders in Flemish municipal councils get more acquainted with New Public Management principles than others ? An investigation into the impact of their individual characteristics," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/821, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    16. Florian Chatagny & Nils Soguel, 2012. "The effect of tax revenue budgeting errors on fiscal balance: evidence from the Swiss cantons," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(3), pages 319-337, June.
    17. B. Buylen & J. Christiaens, 2013. "Politics by numbers? An exploration of councillors’ apparent use of financial information during the budget discussion in Flemish municipal councils," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/841, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    18. Cuadrado-Ballesteros, Beatriz & García-Sánchez, Isabel-María & Prado-Lorenzo, José-Manuel, 2013. "Effect of modes of public services delivery on the efficiency of local governments: A two-stage approach," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 23-35.
    19. Boll, David & Sidki, Marcus, 2021. "The influence of political fragmentation on public enterprises: Evidence from German municipalities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    20. Simon Luechinger & Christoph Schaltegger, 2013. "Fiscal rules, budget deficits and budget projections," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(5), pages 785-807, October.
    21. Beate Jochimsen & Robert Lehmann, 2017. "On the political economy of national tax revenue forecasts: evidence from OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(3), pages 211-230, March.
    22. Lehmann Robert & Wollmershäuser Timo, 2020. "The macroeconomic projections of the German government: A comparison to an independent forecasting institution," German Economic Review, De Gruyter, vol. 21(2), pages 235-270, June.
    23. Goeminne Stijn & Smolders Carine, 2010. "Strategic Use of Debt in Flemish Municipalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-31, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Revenue projections; forecast accuracy; local taxation; Flemish municipalities; government fragmentation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other

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