Foremny, Dirk: Essays in Empirical Public Finance. - Bonn, 2012. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Dirk Foremny}},
title = {Essays in Empirical Public Finance},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2012,
month = may,

note = {This thesis consists of three empirical contributions – each of them concerned with aspects of public finances at the sub-national level in the European Union.
Chapter 1 offers an empirical answer to the question of which institutional arrangements can help to keep the accounts of sub-national governments in balance. I take into consideration the autonomy that these governments have in raising their revenues and fiscal rules as formulated in law or constitutions. The former works as an implicit constraint since governments with more autonomy might assume higher responsibility for accumulated deficits. The latter works as a direct explicit constraint on sub-national borrowing, but might be subject to endogeneity through preferences for fiscal responsibility. This potential source of bias is taken into account by using IV techniques for fiscal rules. Results from my original dataset, covering full information for 14 years of all EU15 countries, show that the effectiveness of tools depends critically on the federal background. Fiscal rules work in unitary countries, while higher tax autonomy yields lower deficits in federations.
The purpose of chapter 2 is to assess whether politicians manipulate the timing of tax rate changes in a strategic way to maximize reelection prospects. To do so, we exploit the information on the German local business tax which is set autonomously by municipalities. As election dates vary across local councils, the data allows us to disentangle effects related to the timing of elections from common trends. Using a rich panel data-set for German municipalities, we assess the impact of elections on local business tax choices. The findings support the notion of a political cycle in tax setting as the change in local business tax rates is significantly reduced in the election year and the year prior to the election, while it jumps up in the year after the election. This pattern turns out to be robust against a number of sensitivity checks.
Chapter 3 contributes to the literature on local tax interactions. Its novelty lies in its focus on the interactions of local governments across national borders. We use panel data for the French and German municipalities in the Rhine Valley for the period 2000–2007. The local governments of each country influence firms’ overall tax burdens, but the tax instruments available at the local level differ. We estimate panel models that distinguish between the effects of competing municipalities belonging to the same country and belonging to the other country. Our empirical model shows that local jurisdictions along borders choose their business tax rates based on those of their domestic neighbors and that foreign fiscal policy does not have an impact on the local domestic tax setting behavior in these contexts.},

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