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The present paper is an extension of the research work undertaken by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in the field of local taxation. The study by Dafflon et al. (2008), published in the series "Notes and Documents", addresses various points concerning local fiscal resources, and this paper follows through some of the related developments.

The purpose of this analysis is identical to the previous one: provide an "interpretation guide" or, in other words, questions, tools and key criteria likely to be of practical use in the event of fiscal appraisals of local taxation, especially in the developing countries (DC).

Although an economist‘s rigorous reply to questions of local taxation is neither simple nor final, an analytical tour of local finances has never been as useful as it is today. In a globalised world, where all economies are open to the rest of the planet, all public finances have become "local".

This document first gives the key definitions that clarify the distinction between autonomous tax regimes and transferred or shared tax regimes. It then addresses the main characteristics of local tax regimes in European Union member countries. The third section, which focuses on local taxation principles, addresses two fundamental questions: why have local taxes? and what effects do local taxes produce (who bears the burden of local taxes)? In the fourth and final section, economic analysis tools are used to explore the different aspects, both positive and negative, of autonomous local taxation.
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