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Janeba, Eckhard; Todtenhaupt, Maximilian (2018): Fiscal competition and public debt. In: Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 168: pp. 47-61
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Abstract

This paper explores the implications of high indebtedness for strategic tax setting when capital markets are integrated. When public borrowing is constrained due to sovereign default or by a binding fiscal rule, a rise in a country's initial debt level lowers investment in public infrastructure and makes tax setting more aggressive in that jurisdiction, while the opposite occurs elsewhere. On net a jurisdiction with higher initial debt becomes a less attractive location. Our analysis is inspired by fiscal responses in severely hit countries after the economic and financial crisis which are consistent with the theoretical predictions. We find a similar pattern on the sub-national level using administrative data from the universe of German municipalities.