Heinemann, Friedrich Janeba, Eckhard Moessinger, Marc-Daniel Schröder, Christoph
Year of Publication:
ZEW Discussion Papers No. 13-090
Fiscal federalism in Germany is characterized by lacking sub-national tax autonomy and intensive fiscal equalization. Due to a sunset clause, the current equalization system has to be renegotiated by the year 2019. Against this backdrop, this contribution studies the reform preferences of members of state parliaments. The study makes use of a self-conducted survey among the members of all 16 German state parliaments. It tests to which extent the preferences of these veto players for tax autonomy and fiscal equalization are driven by states' self-interest, party ideology and individual characteristics. The results are helpful to understand the political-economic constraints of federal reforms. They indicate that besides the individual ideological position higher state wealth and lower debt levels are linked to larger reform support. Therefore, a promising new reform would have to address budgetary legacies like high pre-existing debt.