Fiscal Federalism and Legislative Malapportionment: Causal Evidence from Independent but Related Natural Experiments
44 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2014 Last revised: 20 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 2015
We exploit three natural experiments in Argentina in order to determine if legislative malapportionment is the cause of the biases existing in the country’s federal tax sharing scheme. We find that legislative malapportionment has had no significant effect on the federal tax sharing scheme during periods when democratic governments were in place; nor did we find any evidence that the tax sharing distribution pattern became less biased under centralized military governments. We argue that these results are attributable to two of Argentina’s institutional characteristics: first, the predominance of the executive branch over the legislature; and, second, the lack of any significant difference in the pattern of geographic representation in the executive branch under democratic and autocratic governments. Thus, the observed biases in the distribution of tax revenues among the Argentine provinces are not caused by legislative malapportionment, but are instead the result of a more structural political equilibrium that transcends the geographic distribution of legislative representation and even the nature of the political regime.
Keywords: Malapportionment; Fiscal Federalism and Natural Experiments
JEL Classification: D72; D78; H3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation