Taxation, Fiscal Redistribution, and Local Land Use Regulation

Thiess Buettner


This article explores the role of fiscal institutions for local land use. It argues that tax-base mobility results in an incentive to expand commercial and residential land use, which is mitigated by fiscal redistribution. These predictions are investigated empirically using a data set of German municipalities. To identify differences in the exposure to fiscal redistribution, I exploit institutional characteristics of fiscal equalization grants using a regression-discontinuity analysis. The results support the role of fiscal incentives for local land use regulation, as commercial and residential land use is expanded much faster, and agricultural land use declines more rapidly in municipalities exempted from fiscal redistribution.

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