nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2010‒10‒23
24 papers chosen by
Oliver Budzinski
University of Southern Denmark

  2. Elections and the structure of taxation in developing countries By Hélène EHRHART
  3. Favor Trading in Grassroots Fundraising: The Girl Scout Cookie Phenomenon By Sarah Jacobson; Ragan Petrie
  4. The Framing of Games and the Psychology of Play By Martin Dufwenberg; Simon Gaechter; Heike Hennig-Schmidt
  5. Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Tax Incentives By A. KLEMM; S. VAN PARYS
  6. Financial Transaction Tax: Small is Beautiful By Zsolt Darvas; Jakob von Weizs„cker
  7. Separation of Powers or Ideology? What Determines the Tax Level? Theory and Evidence from the US States. By Leandro M. de Magalhães; Lucas Ferrero
  8. Local tax interaction with multiple tax instruments: evidence from Flemish municipalities By S. VAN PARYS; B. MERLEVEDE; T. VERBEKE
  9. Fiscal Federalism in Crisis: Lessons for Europe from the US By Zsolt Darvas
  10. Tiebout, local school finance and the ineffciency of head taxes By Francisco Martínez-Mora
  11. The Impact of Market Exposure on Public Goods Provision By Mahvish Shami
  12. Modelling Aggregate Personal Income Tax Revenue in Multi-Schedular and Multi-Regional Structures By John Creedy; Jose Felix Sanz-Sanz
  13. Religion, Income Inequality, and the Size of the Government By Elgin, Ceyhun; Goksel, Turkmen; Gurdal, Mehmet Y; Orman, Cuneyt
  14. Taxing Powers and Developmental Role of the Indian States: A Study with Reference to Kerala By R. Mohan
  15. Tax-Benefit Revealed Redistributive Preferences Over Time: Ireland 1987-2005 By Bargain, Olivier; Keane, Claire
  16. The Effectiveness Evaluation of Selected Tax Expenditures: a Novel Approach An Application to Regional Tax Incentives for Business Investment in Italy By Antonella Caiumi
  17. Mixed Markets with Public Goods By Achille basile; Maria Gabriella Graziano; Maria Laura Pesce
  18. The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand By Iris Claus; John Creedy; Josh Teng
  19. Are We Taxing Ourselves? How Deliberation and Experience Shape Voting on Taxes By Rupert Sausgruber; Jean-Robert Tyran
  20. A Contribution Towards New Zealand’s Tax Reform By Laabas, Belkacem; Razzak, Weshah
  21. The Impact of Fiscal Governance on Bond Markets: Evidence from Late Budgets and State Government Borrowing Costs By Asger Lau Andersen; David Dreyer Lassen; Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen
  22. Juridical and financial considerations on the public re capitalisation and rescue of financial institutions during periods of financial crises By Ojo, Marianne; Rodriguez-Miguez, Jose
  23. Optimal Dynamic Nonlinear Income Taxation under Loose Commitment By Jang-Ting Guo; Alan Krause
  24. The Economic Policy of Ronald Reagan. Between Supply-Side and Keynesianism By Magazzino, Cosimo

  1. By: Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham); Martin Sefton (University of Nottingham)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine voluntary contributions to a public good, embedding Varian (1994)’s voluntary contribution game in extended games that allow players to choose the timing of their contributions. We show that predicted outcomes are sensitive to the structure of the extended game, and also to the extent to which players care about payoff inequalities. We then report a laboratory experiment based on these extended games. We find that behavior is similar in the two extended games: subjects avoid the detrimental move order of Varian’s model, where a person with a high value of the public good commits to a low contribution, and instead players tend to delay contributions. These results suggest that commitment opportunities may be less damaging to public good provision than previously thought.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Voluntary Contributions, Sequential Contributions, Endogenous Timing, Action Commitment, Observable Delay, Experiment
    JEL: H41 C72 C92
    Date: 2010–08
  2. By: Hélène EHRHART (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Abstract: This paper goes beyond traditional political budget cycles studies by considering the impact of the election calendar on the composition of tax revenue (direct taxes versus indirect taxes) rather than on the global level. We develop a theoretical model, based on Drazen and Eslava (2010) to predict how the taxation structure will be modif ied during election years. Using a panel of 56 developing countries over 1980-2006, our study reveals clear patterns of electorally timed interventions. We found robust evidence that indirect taxes decreases are the preferred vehicle for incumbents in de veloping countries to increase their popularity just before elections. On average, they are falling of 2.6 percent in an election year while the direct taxes remain unchanged. These manipulations constitute reversals in the developing countries' tax reforms aim- ing at broaden tax bases and increase tax mobilization and point at the importance of both good fiscal institutions and fiscal discipline.
    Keywords: Political budget cycles, Tax structure, developing countries
    JEL: O10 E62 D72
    Date: 2010
  3. By: Sarah Jacobson (Williams College); Ragan Petrie (George Mason University)
    Abstract: Grassroots fundraising leverages favor trading within social networks to support the provision of a public good. We use a laboratory experiment to study the elements and dynamics of this type of fundraising institution. Peer-to-peer reciprocity is an important component of grassroots fundraising, and the ability to practice this targeted reciprocity in our experiment increases contributions to the public good by 14%. Subjects discriminate by rewarding group members who have been generous and withholding rewards from ungenerous group members. At least some of this reciprocal behavior is rooted in other-regarding preferences. When someone is rendered unable to benefit from favor trading, he gives much less to the public good than he does in other settings. People thus excluded from the "circle of reciprocity" thus provide a clean and strict test of indirect reciprocity, since they cannot benefit from a norm of cooperation. We do not observe indirect reciprocity.
    Keywords: public goods, reciprocity, experiment, peer-to-peer fundraising
    JEL: C91 H41 D01
    Date: 2010–10
  4. By: Martin Dufwenberg (University of Arizona); Simon Gaechter (University of Nottingham); Heike Hennig-Schmidt (University of Bonn)
    Abstract: Psychological game theory can provide rational-choice-based framing effects; frames influence beliefs, beliefs influence motivations. We explain this theoretically and explore empirical relevance experimentally. In a 2?2 design of one-shot public good games we show that frames affect subject’s first- and second-order beliefs, and contributions. From a psychological gametheoretic framework we derive two mutually compatible hypotheses about guilt aversion and reciprocity under which contributions are related to second- and first-order beliefs, respectively. Our results are consistent with either.
    Keywords: framing; psychological game theory; guilt aversion; reciprocity; public good games; voluntary cooperation
    JEL: C91 C72 D64 Z13
    Date: 2010–09
    Abstract: This paper considers two empirical questions about tax incentives: (i) are incentives used as tools of tax competition and (ii) how effective are incentives in attracting investment? To answer these, we prepared a new dataset of tax incentives in over 40 Latin American, Caribbean and African countries for the period 1985–2004. Using spatial econometrics techniques for panel data to answer the first question, we find evidence for strategic interaction in tax holidays, in addition to the well-known competition over the corporate income tax (CIT) rate. We find no evidence, however, for competition over investment allowances and tax credits. Using dynamic panel data econometrics to answer the second question, we find evidence that lower CIT rates and longer tax holidays are effective in attracting FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean but not in Africa. None of the tax incentives is effective in boosting gross private fixed capital formation.
    Keywords: Tax incentives, tax competition, investment, developing countries
    JEL: H25 H87
    Date: 2010–09
  6. By: Zsolt Darvas (Institute of Economics - Hungarian Academy of Science, Bruegel-Brusselss); Jakob von Weizs„cker (Bruegel-Brusselss)
    Abstract: The case for taxing financial transactions merely to raise more revenues from the financial sector is not particularly strong. Better alternatives to tax the financial sector are likely to be available. However, a tax on financial transactions could be justified in order to limit socially undesirable transactions when more direct means of doing so are unavailable for political or practical reasons. Some financial transactions are indeed likely to do more harm than good, especially when they contribute to the systemic risk of the financial system. However, such a financial transaction tax should be very small, much smaller than the negative externalities in question, because it is a blunt instrument that also drives out socially useful transactions. There is a case for taxing over-the-counter derivative transactions at a somewhat higher rate than exchange-based derivative transactions. More targeted remedies to drive out socially undesirable transactions should be sought in parallel, which would allow, after their implementation, to reduce or even phase out financial transaction taxes.
    Keywords: transaction tax, Tobin tax, financial transactions, global financial crisis, financial regulation
    JEL: H20 D62 G10 F30
    Date: 2010–09
  7. By: Leandro M. de Magalhães; Lucas Ferrero
    Abstract: We find the surprising result that the tax level is negatively correlated with the size of the Democratic majority in the interval in which the Democrats hold between 50 and 66% of the seats in the state Legislatures. This negative relationship suggests the failure of a simple ideological model that had found some support in the literature, that the main determinant of the tax level is the extent of partisan control over the Legislature. We compare this model with an alternative: a separation-of-powers model in which ideology plays no role in determining the tax level. The driving force of our model is the overlap between the supporters of the Governor and the supporters of the legislative majority. The tax level at first rises and then decreases as the size of the ruling majority increases above 50% of the seats, whether the legislative majority is of the same party as the Governor or from the opposition. This non-monotonic relationship is observed in the data and explained by our model.
    Keywords: Separation of powers, divided government, line-item veto, tax level, semiparametric.
    JEL: H00 H11 H20 H30 H71
    Date: 2010–10
    Abstract: We investigate the long run result of strategic interaction among local jurisdictions using multiple tax instruments. Most studies about local policy interaction only consider a single policy instrument. With multiple tax instruments, however, tax interaction is more complex. We construct a simple theoretical framework based on a basic spillover model, with two tax rates and immobile resources. We show that the signs of within and cross tax interaction crucially depend on the extent to which a jurisdiction mimics the other jurisdiction’s budget, and the extent to which the preference for one tax instrument is affected by the level of the same or the other tax instrument in the other jurisdiction. Its specific institutional setting makes of Flanders (Belgium) a unique region to evaluate multiple tax interaction. Municipalities in Belgium are free to set two important local tax rates: the local property tax rate and the local income tax rate. We estimate whether years of strategic interaction between Flemish municipalities, of which the division is stable since 1983, has resulted in municipalities mimicking their neighbors’ tax structure. We do so by between estimating income and property tax reaction functions for the period 1992-2004, each of which simultaneously includes the neighboring municipalities’ income ànd property tax rate. We find that the property (income) tax rate of a municipality is significantly higher if the property (income) tax rate in other municipalities is high, and that the coefficient is higher if the possible impact of the other municipalities’ income (property) tax rate is accounted for. The cross impact of the other municipalities’ income (property) tax rate on the property (income) tax rate is always negative, though the significance is higher for the property tax than for the income tax reaction function. The result suggests that municipalities are keener on competing each other’s tax structure than on mimicking the neighboring municipalities’ budget.
    Keywords: tax competition; yardstick competition; local tax rates; spatial econometrics; multiple taxes; tax structure
    Date: 2010–09
  9. By: Zsolt Darvas (Institute of Economics - Hungarian Academy of Science, Bruegel-Brusselss)
    Abstract: The euro area is facing crisis, while the US is not, though the overall fiscal situation and outlook is better in the euro area than in the US, and though the US faces serious state-level fiscal crises. A higher level of fiscal federalism would strengthen the euro area, but is not inevitable. Current fiscal reform proposals (strengthening of current rules, more policy coordination and an emergency financing mechanism) will if implemented result in some improvements. But implementation might be deficient or lack credibility, and could lead to disputes and carry a significant political risk. Introduction of a Eurobond covering up to 60 percent of member states' GDP would bring about much greater levels of fiscal discipline than any other proposal, would create an attractive Eurobond market, and would deliver a strong message about the irreversible nature of European integration.
    Keywords: federalism; redistribution; stabilisation; risk-sharing; crisis; euro-area governance reform; Eurobond
    JEL: E62 H60 H77
    Date: 2010–09
  10. By: Francisco Martínez-Mora
    Abstract: The literature on local public (school) finance has shown that the use of local head taxes to finance schools leads to an effcient allocation of households and pupils to districts (Tiebout, 1956; Hamilton, 1975; Calabrese et al., 2009). This paper revises this well established result, using a two-community model with a housing market that adds two layers of realism to the analysis: not every household receives direct benefits from schools (e.g. some do not have children at school age) and communities are vertically differentiated, in the sense that one of them is exogenously preferred to the other by every household. In such context, head taxation leads to an ineffcient allocation of households to districts, even if local governments set local spending levels effciently given their population. The ineffciency emerges because too many intermediate income "in-school" households reside in the rich district in equilibrium. Income taxation is ineffcient as well but, in a counter-intuitive result, it may cause smaller effciency losses than a lump-sum tax.
    Date: 2010–05
  11. By: Mahvish Shami (Institute of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Low levels of public goods provision in many developing countries’ rural communities often force the poor to approach someone with considerable command over both financial and social resources to act as their patron. However engaging with the patron – typically a landlord – does not guarantee public provision, as inequality and lack of alternative options considerably weakens peasants’ bargaining power, thus enabling the landlord to use peasant’ votes to secure public resources for his own benefit. This paper proposes to increase peasants’ bargaining power, and thus their ability to pressurize their patron to broker public goods for them, by increasing their alternative options through connectivity. In order to empirically test the viability of this solution the paper makes use of a natural experiment found in the construction of a motorway in Pakistan. Using household-level data, the study shows that households situated close to the road enjoy a significantly higher level of public investment when compared to similar peasants living in isolated villages. Moreover, the data finds the beneficial impact of connectivity is felt most strongly by the socially lower classes within rural society.
    Keywords: Public Goods Provision, Patron-Client Networks, Patronage Politics, Bargaining power, Pakistan
    JEL: H41 R2 O1
    Date: 2010–10
  12. By: John Creedy; Jose Felix Sanz-Sanz
    Abstract: This paper derives analytical expressions for aggregate personal income tax revenue obtained from a multi-schedular and multi-regional personal income tax system, with revenue divided among central and regional governments. Aggregate income tax revenue is expressed as a function of characteristics of the distribution of taxable income, making it possible to identify the sources of revenue differences among regions. The approach is applied to the tax structure in Spain, and the effects of income distribution differences among the Spanish regions is examined.
    Date: 2010
  13. By: Elgin, Ceyhun; Goksel, Turkmen; Gurdal, Mehmet Y; Orman, Cuneyt
    Abstract: Recent empirical research has demonstrated that countries with higher levels of religiosity are characterized by greater income inequality. We argue that this is due to the lower level of government services demanded in more religious countries. Religion requires that individuals make financial sacrifices and this leads the religious to prefer making their contributions voluntarily rather than through mandatory means. To the extent that citizen preferences are reflected in policy outcomes, religiosity results in lower taxes, which in turn implies lower levels of spending on both public goods and redistribution. Since measures of income typically do not fully take into account the part of income coming from donations received, this increases measured income inequality. We formalize these ideas in a general equilibrium political economy model and also show that the implications of our model are supported by cross-country data.
    Keywords: religion; voluntary donations; taxation; redistribution; income inequality
    JEL: D63 Z12 H20
    Date: 2010–09–17
  14. By: R. Mohan
    Abstract: The study analyses whether the growing State Domestic Product (SDP) of Kerala since the latter half of the 1980s, has acted as a larger resource base for the State and finds that it has not. While the inability to fully tap the existing resource potential could be cited as a reason, the paper argues that the main constraint is the limited taxing powers of the States. The Study concludes that the power to tax the services should be devolved from the Centre to the States, lest the fiscal dispossession should affect the sustainability of achievements, which made the development experience of Kerala unique. [Working Paper No. 375]
    Keywords: Revenue Receipts, Tax Effort, SDP
    Date: 2010
  15. By: Bargain, Olivier (University College Dublin); Keane, Claire (ESRI, Dublin)
    Abstract: By inverting Saez (2002)'s model of optimal income taxation, we characterize the redistributive preferences of the Irish government between 1987 and 2005. The (marginal) social welfare function revealed by this approach is consistently comparable over time and show great stability despite profound changes in market incomes and important fiscal reforms over the period. Results are robust to numerous checks regarding data, income concepts and elasticities. A comparison with the UK shows marked differences reflecting the narrow political spectrum in Ireland compared to radical changes in British politics over the past 30 years. Some "anomalies" in the revealed social welfare function suggests introducing transfers to the working poor.
    Keywords: social preferences, optimal taxation, labour supply
    JEL: C63 C81 D31 D63 H11 H21 H23 H31
    Date: 2010–09
  16. By: Antonella Caiumi (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses)
    Abstract: This study uses data on regional tax incentives for business investments in Italy to ask: How much additional investment was stimulated by the government intervention? Or does public financing displace private financing? To what extent would the outcomes on firm performance not have been achieved without public support? The methodology consists of applying the matching approach in order to select a sample of firms composed by both recipients and non-recipients such that for each subsidised firm is found a comparable unsubsidised counterpart, similar in every respect except for the tax benefit, and then estimate a structural model of investment behaviour with the aim of recovering the tax-price elasticity and testing the sensitivity of investment decisions to the availability of internal funds by taking into account the dynamic structure underlying capital accumulation. The novelty of our approach allows us to deal with the problem of the endogeneity of firms' participation decisions as well as to account for the different channels through which fiscal incentives operate. Finally, the impact of the investment tax credit on TFP levels is identified by modelling productivity dynamics at firm level.
    Keywords: Investment incentives, Productivity dispersion, State aid
    Date: 2010–03
  17. By: Achille basile (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF); Maria Gabriella Graziano (Università di Napoli Federico II and CSEF); Maria Laura Pesce (Università di Napoli Federico II)
    Abstract: This paper studies the notion of fairness in pure exchange economies involving uncertainty and asymmetric information. We propose a new concept of coalitional fair allocation in order to solve the tension that may exist between efficiency and envy-freeness when the equity of allocations is evaluated at the {\it interim} stage. Some characterizations of constrained market equilibria are derived extending the analysis to economies that have both an atomic and an atomless sector.
    Keywords: Mixed markets, coalitional fairness, envy, efficiency, asymmetric information
    JEL: C71 D51 D82
    Date: 2010–01–23
  18. By: Iris Claus; John Creedy; Josh Teng
    Abstract: This paper reports estimates of the elasticity of taxable income with respect to the net-of-tax rate for New Zealand taxpayers. The elasticity of taxable income was estimated to be substantially higher for the highest income groups. Generally it was higher for men than for women. Changes in the timing of income flows for the higher income recipients were found to be an important response to the announcement of a new higher-rate bracket. The marginal welfare costs of personal income taxation were consistent across years, being relatively small for all but the higher tax brackets. For the top marginal rate bracket of 39 per cent, the welfare cost of raising an extra dollar of tax revenue was estimated to be well in excess of a dollar. Furthermore, for the top bracket the marginal tax rate was often found to exceed the revenue-maximising tax rate.
    Keywords: Income taxation; Taxable income; Elasticity of taxable income; Excess
    JEL: H24 H31
    Date: 2010
  19. By: Rupert Sausgruber; Jean-Robert Tyran
    Abstract: We let consumers vote on tax regimes in experimental markets. We test if taxes on sellers are more popular than taxes on consumers, i.e. on voters themselves, even if taxes on sellers are inefficiently high. Taxes on sellers are more popular if voters underestimate the extent of tax shifting in the market. We show that inexperienced voters are prone to such a tax-shifting bias, that experience is an effective de-biasing mechanism, but that pre-vote deliberation about tax regimes makes initially held opinions more extreme rather than correct. Our results suggest that voting on taxes is prone to bias and that easy-to-interpret facts are needed to de-bias voters.
    JEL: C92 H22 D72
    Date: 2010–10
  20. By: Laabas, Belkacem; Razzak, Weshah
    Abstract: We use the work-leisure choice model to estimate equilibrium labour supply (hours-worked) in New Zealand over the period 2000 – 2008. We then stochastically solve the model over a future period from 2010 to 2050, and evaluate the New Zealand’s new tax policy. We compare the welfare and relative productivity (i.e., relative to Australia) outcomes for several tax policy scenarios.
    Keywords: Taxes; Labour supply; welfare and productivity
    JEL: E62 C63 J22
    Date: 2010–03
  21. By: Asger Lau Andersen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); David Dreyer Lassen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Lasse Holbøll Westh Nielsen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Does fiscal governance affect government borrowing costs? We operationalize fiscal governance as the ability of governments to pass a budget on time and, using a unique data set on budget enactment dates, analyze the effect of such late budgets on government bond yield spreads. Based on a sample of 36 US states in the period 1988-1997, we estimate that a budget delay of 30 days has a long run impact on the yield spread between 2 and 10 basis points. States with sufficient liquidity in the form of large reserves face small or no costs from late budgets.
    Keywords: fiscal governance; political deadlock; late budgets; fiscal stalemate; Chubb relative value survey; debt cost; bond spreads
    JEL: H72 H61 H63
    Date: 2010–10
  22. By: Ojo, Marianne; Rodriguez-Miguez, Jose
    Abstract: As well as a consideration of why the lender of last resort facility should be used for emergency situations and systemically relevant institutions in particular, an interesting point which will be considered in this paper is the comparison between the European Central Bank (ECB) Recommendation and its application by the Commission in the Re capitalisation Communication, specifically with its Annex, where the Commission explains how it determines the price of equity or own funds (ordinary or common shares) - balancing the “real value” with the “market value” within a crisis context. This paper will also consider how to transform the Crisis into an opportunity in order to minimise tax burdens to taxpayers – as well as making financial markets more efficient. Furthermore, whether the Commission and Member States have applied the methodology (the determination of the price of equity – as stated in the Annex to the Recapitalisation Communication on Financial Institutions) in determining the price of equity with respect to the capital of banks acquired by Member States, will be addressed. Such consideration could provide a vital key to determining the real value of State Aid and the best possible price for which capital could be sold. Given the scale of government intervention and State rescues which occurred during the recent crisis – as well as the prominence accorded to measures aimed at preventing and limiting distortions of competition, calls have been made for competition authorities to take on more formidable roles in designing and implementing exit strategies. In order to foster competition as much as possible, it is proposed that ”governments should provide financial institutions with incentives to prevent them from depending on government support once the economy begins to recover.”
    Keywords: Financial Crisis; state aid; recapitalisation; equity; own funds; tier capital; MEIP; guarantees; Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP); fundamentally sound institutions; rescue and restructuring aid; recovery.
    JEL: D53 K2 E58 G21
    Date: 2010–07
  23. By: Jang-Ting Guo; Alan Krause
    Abstract: This paper examines an infinite-horizon model of dynamic nonlinear income taxation in which there exists a small probability that the government cannot commit to its future tax policy. In this "loose commitment" environment, we find that even a little uncertainty over whether the government can commit yields substantial effects on the optimal dynamic nonlinear income tax system. Under an empirically plausible parameterization, numerical simulations show that high-skill individuals must be subsidized in the short run, despite the government's redistributive objective, unless the probability of commitment is higher than 98%. Loose commitment also reverses the short-run welfare effects of changes in most model parameters. In particular, all individuals are worse-off, rather than better-off, in the short run when the proportion of high-skill individuals in the economy increases. Finally, our main findings remain qualitatively robust to a setting in which loose commitment is modelled as a Markov switching process.
    Keywords: Dynamic Income Taxation, Loose Commitment
    JEL: H21 H24
    Date: 2010–10
  24. By: Magazzino, Cosimo
    Abstract: “Reaganomics” is a popular term used to refer to the economic policies of Ronald W. Reagan, the 40th U.S. President (1981–1989), which called for widespread tax cuts, decreased social spending, increased military spending, and the deregulation of domestic markets. In this paper, we analyze American economic policy during the Eigh-ties. After a brief introduction, where a general economic context of that country is shown, we discuss and revise the economic literature about these issues. Afterwards, we present an augmented IS-LM model for Reagan years, estimated bay VAR techniques.
    Keywords: Reaganomics; Supply-Side Economics; Laffer curve; tax cuts; twin deficits; IS-LM model; VAR.
    JEL: E65 N12
    Date: 2010–06–30

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