Taxation, Fiscal Redistribution and Local Land Use Regulation

Thiess Buettner


This paper 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 dataset 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.