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Horizontal interactions in local personal income taxes

Johan Lundberg ()
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Johan Lundberg: Umeå University

The Annals of Regional Science, 2021, vol. 67, issue 1, No 2, 27-46

Abstract: Abstract Theories of inter-jurisdictional tax and yardstick competition assume that the tax decisions of one jurisdiction will influence the tax decisions of other jurisdictions. This paper empirically addresses the issue of horizontal dependence in local personal income tax rates across jurisdictions. Based on a large data set covering Swedish municipalities over a period of 14 years, we test for interactions across municipalities that share a common border, across municipalities within a distance of 100 km of each other, and across municipalities with similar political representation in the local council. We also test the hypothesis that the tax rate of relatively larger municipalities has a greater influence on their neighbors' tax rate compared to the influence of their smaller neighbors. Our results suggest that when lagged tax rates are controlled for, the horizontal correlation across municipalities that share a common border or are within a distance of 100 km from each other becomes insignificant. This result is of importance as it suggests that lagged tax rates should be included or at least tested for when testing for horizontal interactions or mimicking in local tax rates. However, our results support the hypothesis of horizontal interactions across municipalities that share a common border when the influence of neighboring municipalities is also weighted by their relative population size, i.e. relatively larger neighbors tend to have a greater impact on their neighbor's tax rates than their relatively smaller neighbors. This is of importance as it suggests that distance or proximity matters, although only in combination with the relative population size. We also find some evidence of horizontal dependence across municipalities with similar political preferences.

JEL-codes: H24 H71 H77 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00168-020-01039-6

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