The electoral cycle and the tax policy of gminas




political business cycle, electoral cycle, local tax policy, gmina, local taxes


Background: The subject of this study is the implemented tax policy of gminas and its factors. One of the popular concepts explaining changes in tax policy is the theory of the political (elec­toral) cycle, according to which electoral decisions are highly dependent on the perception of the economic situation. In election years, local authorities usually attempt to lower or avoid raising local taxes. Therefore, the author focuses mainly on recognising the “electoral” motivations of the adopted tax policy based on the example of gminas in the Małopolskie Voivodeship.

Research purpose: The aim of the study is to analyse and evaluate the tax policy of gminas in the context of the impact of the electoral cycle on the level of local taxes and operating surplus, based on the example of gminas in Małopolskie Voivodeship. According to the author, the impact of the political business cycle on the tax policy of Polish gminas can be observed.

Methods: Both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied in the study. The literature on local tax policy and its differentiating factors was reviewed. The methods of descriptive statistics (structure indicators) were used to analyse data from the budget reports of local government units and statements of the National Electoral Commission. An important source of information in terms of qualitative research were the results of the author’s own survey conducted among the treasurers of gminas in Małopolskie Voivodeship. They allowed for confrontation of the de­termined economic patterns with the opinions of entities having the most information about the financial management of local governments at the gmina level.

Conclusions: The analysis of the data confirmed that the role of local taxes in the building of po­litical capital before local elections was practically insignificant. The research did not indicate that there was any connection between the level of local tax rates and the electoral cycle. Tax policy is perceived by the voters as a relatively insignificant aspect of local policy. In election years, lower budget performance of most gminas implies that the political business cycle affects investment expenditures rather than tax revenues.


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How to Cite

Bień, W. (2021). The electoral cycle and the tax policy of gminas. Studia Prawno-Ekonomiczne, 118, 139–158.