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Urban sprawl and local fiscal burden: analysing the Spanish case

Laura Varela-Candamio (), Fernando Rubiera Morollón and Gohar Sedrakyan
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Laura Varela-Candamio: University of A Coruna

Empirica, 2019, vol. 46, issue 1, No 8, 177-203

Abstract: Abstract Urban sprawl is rapidly occurring in many Spanish urban areas. The objective of this paper is to evaluate how the trend of building dispersion of new residential areas may be affecting the fiscal stability of local governments in Spain. The wide diversity of the characteristics of Spanish urban areas as well as the existence of very similar local fiscal structures make this case particularly interesting. After delimiting the urban areas and the spatial unit of analysis, a precise index of urban sprawl, calculated with geo-referenced digital cartography, is used. Using the spatially disaggregated information of taxes from the Spanish National Institute for Fiscal Studies allows for a measure of fiscal burden by local areas and the ability to distinguish among types of taxes. Control variables are also available at the local level from the Spanish Census and other databases. Two methods, quantile regressions and ordinary least squares, are used in order to measure not only the average change but the heterogeneity across the distribution of the local fiscal burden associated with the changes in urban sprawl, whilst controlling for other explanatory variables in the model. The results indicate that higher levels of urban sprawl imply higher local fiscal burden. By tax categories, the phenomenon of urban sprawl particularly affects both local indirect and direct taxation. These results suggest that local decision-makers should consider urban planning as one of the fundamental tools to assure long-term local fiscal sustainability.

Keywords: Urban sprawl; Fiscal burden; Local public services; Geo-referenced digital cartography; Quantile regression; Spain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: R1 R5 H7 H8 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Urban Sprawl and Local Fiscal Burden: Analysing the Spanish Case (2017) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s10663-018-9421-y

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