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Tax policy and yardstick voting in Flemish municipal elections

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Recent theoretical papers develop political agency models in which voters compare tax policy with that in neighbouring jurisdictions. In these yardstick competition models voters judge incumbents by comparing their policy with policy in neighbouring jurisdictions. This paper reports an analysis of municipal elections in Flanders during the period 1982 to 2000 and finds empirical evidence for yardstick voting. Incumbents are punished for higher tax rates. Importantly, the electoral punishment also depends on tax rates in neighbouring municipalities. Higher rates in neighbouring municipalities are favourable for the incumbents.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Economics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, B-1050, Belgium

Publication date: 2006-10-20

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