According to the fiscal federalism literature, subcentral budget constraints become softer when local governments are more
dependent on revenues over which they have no discretion. As a consequence of "transfer dependency", subcentral governments
can expect to be bailed out by the central government and therefore tend to accumulate higher levels of debt. We test this
conjecture with data from Austrian municipalities. In fiscal terms, Austria is a highly centralised federation in which tax
autonomy at the municipal level is rather weak. Our identification strategy is based on a discontinuity caused by the unique
regulation of population weights in the tax-sharing agreement between central government and the municipalities. Our results
indicate that, in line with theoretical expectations, municipalities with higher revenue dependency are responsible for higher
net borrowing per capita. The size of the additional borrowing effect equals to about 5 percent of average municipal debt.
We also find that almost one half of the observed discontinuity works through an investment channel.