By Benny Geys, 2006


Spatial patterns in (local) government taxation and spending decisions have received a lot of scholarly attention recently. Still, the focus on taxation or expenditure levels in previous studies is incomplete. In fact, (rational) individuals are likely to consider the level of spending on (or taxation for) public goods provision simultaneously with how much public goods they actually receive – thus assessing the ‘price/quantity’ of government policy (in relation to that of neighbouring jurisdictions) rather than concentrating on spending (or taxation) levels alone. Therefore, the present paper argues that incumbents may want their ‘price/quantity’ ratio to be close to that in neighbouring regions. Using Flemish local governments’ efficiency ratings for the year 2000 (which relate tax revenues to the quantity of locally provided public goods), we confirm the existence of such neighbourhood effects in local government policies.