Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Roy Bahl

Second Advisor

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez

Third Advisor

Sally Wallace

Fourth Advisor

Yongsheng Xu

Fifth Advisor

Geeta Sethi

Abstract

Exhaustible resource rents are an important taxable base in many countries, with revenue sharing often part of the scheme. In some cases large shares are retained for the central government. Generally, the discussions of exhaustible resource taxation consider assignment of resource rent tax base and revenue sharing from the limited perspectives of efficiency and stability. Tax assignment and sharing arrangements are assumed to have a neutral effect on investment of resource rents in long-lived public goods. We attempt to demonstrate that this may not be the case, specifically looking at the question of whether rent assignment is neutral to effects on investment of rents in long-lived public goods, a normative policy objective, and under what conditions it occurs. We test the theoretical propositions with data from the Russian Federation to derive empirical results. The results from the Russian Federation point toward an important dimension of rent tax assignment in a federation. They results show that ceteris paribus, higher share of rent for the federation may lead to lower investment in long-lived public goods and may be constrained by stability. Another argument has been made for reconsidering rent tax assignment using assertive ethnic identity as a manifestation strong ownership claims. Communities with strongly valued identities value ownership over land and exhaustible resource endowments in their areas. This may be the case especially if ethnic identity is important to the resource owning community. The empirical results show that a decrease in the regional share of rent resulted in a fall in investments in the republics and regions with strong ethnic identity. Republics among the producing regions have historical claims to a distinct identity and may have a preference for preserving their identity. This preference is manifested as higher levels of rent investment. Following this line of argument, it can be concluded that rent assignment, through rent tax or revenue assignment, should favor producing regions within the range of stability in a federation, if the objective is achieving higher investment in long-lived public goods.

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