OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Towards More Efficient Government

Reforming Federal Fiscal Relations in Germany

In Germany fiscal relations between the various levels of government have come to the fore of the policy debate. In practice the federal fiscal set-up has evolved towards consensus and co-operation, where equalisation of living standards takes precedence over public choice and economic incentives. Shared taxes and the low reliance on own taxes make for a relatively inefficient control over public spending. At the same time, the system may be criticised for not achieving economic convergence among the states. The difference in regional living standards is smaller than in some other economies, but the revenue equalisation system offers no incentives to expand the tax base and may even promote tax avoidance. Greater dynamism could be achieved with a less confiscatory equalisation system and a higher degree of tax autonomy and both of these should form part of any balanced tax and expenditure reform ...


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