Raising Taxes through Equalization
28 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2007
Date Written: February 2007
A simple theory suggests that a common form of federal horizontal equalization grants should cause subnational governments to levy higher tax rates, distorting local tax bases and so increasing federal transfers. To test this, I examine Canadian provincial tax policies in the 1972-2002 period. Consistent with the theory, provinces respond to expansions of equalization transfers by increasing their own tax rates. I estimate that on average tax rates in grant-receiving provinces were substantially and significantly higher as a consequence of the transfer formula.
JEL Classification: H21
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation