Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Umeå Economic Studies,
Umeå University, Department of Economics

No 947: Capital Taxation in a Fiscal Union – Implications of Simultaneous Horizontal and Decentralized Leadership

Tomas Sjögren ()
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Tomas Sjögren: Department of Economics, Umeå University, Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Abstract: This article concerns capital taxation and public good provision in a two-layer fiscal union where the federal government uses lump-sum transfers to redistribute resources between two local jurisdictions, and where each local government uses a capital tax and a lump-sum tax to finance the provision of a local public good. The novelty is to allow for simultaneous horizontal and decentralized leadership (double leadership) which means that one of the local governments is able to exercise Stackelberg leadership both vis-a-vis the other local government and vis-a-vis the federal government. Among the results it is shown that the capital tax becomes redundant as a policy instrument for the double leader if the other state government acts as a decentralized leader vis-a-vis the federal government. If, instead, the other state government does not exercise leadership vis-a-vis the federal government then the double leader will implement a capital tax which is allocatively efficient from the perspective of the fiscal union as a whole. It is also shown that double leadership exacerbates the under-taxation inefficiency that earlier research has shown exists in a fiscal union with decentralized leadership.

Keywords: Federalism; capital taxation; commitment; leadership

JEL-codes: H10; H21; H77

30 pages, February 23, 2017

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