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Decentralization, competition and the local tax mix: Evidence from Flanders

Benny Geys and Federico Revelli ()

Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers from University of Turin

Abstract: While numerous studies analyse the determinants of the level and composition of local public spending, little attention has been given to what shapes the choice of tax instruments used by decentralised governments. This paper bridges this gap by investigating the economic and political determinants of the local tax mix in the Flemish region of Belgium, where local governments enjoy extensive fiscal autonomy and have a wide variety of tax instruments available. Specifically, using panel data of 289 Flemish municipalities over the period 1995-2002, we estimate a system of five reduced-form tax revenue-share equations (income, property, business, user fees and other own revenues). The analysis highlights a number of important economic determinants of the observed tax mix (especially the tax base and revenue requirement), while political variables turn out to play a relatively minor role. Finally, the analysis uncovers virtually no evidence of inter-municipal dependence in the determination of the local tax mix.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pbe and nep-ure
Date: 2009-01
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