Ranking State Fiscal Structures using Theory and Evidence

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Title: Ranking State Fiscal Structures using Theory and Evidence
Author: Bania, Neil; Stone, Joe A. (Joe Allan), 1948-
Abstract: This paper offers unique rankings of the extent to which fiscal structures of U.S. states contribute to economic growth. The rankings are novel in two key respects: they are well grounded in established growth theory, in which the effect of taxes depends both on the level of taxes and on the composition of expenditures; and they are derived from actual estimates of the link between fiscal structures and economic growth. Estimates for the latter yield a growth hill, in which the incremental effect of taxes spent on productive services and infrastructure initially rises, reaches a peak, and then declines. Rankings derived from these estimates differ sharply from typical rankings based on levels of taxation alone. Two hypothetical policy experiments highlight both the growth-hill effects of tax investments in productive services and infrastructure and the short- and long-term tradeoffs in attempting to fund strong social services.
Description: 30 p.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/8306
Date: 2007-06

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