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Imperfect tax competition for profits, asymmetric equilibrium and beneficial tax havens

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  • Johannesen, Niels

Abstract

We present a model of tax competition for real investment and profits and show that the presence of tax havens in some cases increases the tax revenue of countries. In the first part of the paper, we argue that tax competition for profits is likely to be imperfect in the sense that the jurisdiction with the lowest tax rate does not necessarily attract all shifted profits. Under this assumption, tax competition between a large number of identical countries may lead to either a symmetric equilibrium with no profit shifting or an asymmetric equilibrium where firms shift profits from high-tax to low-tax countries. In the second part of the paper, we introduce tax havens. Starting from a symmetric equilibrium, tax havens unambiguously reduce the tax revenue of countries due to a 'leakage effect' -- tax havens attract tax base from countries -- and a 'competition effect' -- the optimal response to the increased tax sensitivity of tax bases involves a reduction of tax rates. Starting from an asymmetric equilibrium, however, tax havens also raise the tax revenue of countries through a 'crowding effect' -- tax havens make it less attractive to compete for profits and thus induce low-tax countries to become high-tax countries. We demonstrate that the latter effect may dominate the former effects so that countries, on balance, benefit from the presence of tax havens.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 81 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 253-264

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:81:y:2010:i:2:p:253-264

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

Related research

Keywords: Tax competition Profit shifting Tax havens;

References

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  1. Harry Huizinga & Luc Laeven & Gaetan Nicodeme, 2006. "Capital structure and international debt shifting," European Economy - Economic Papers 263, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  2. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, Jr., 2003. "A Multinational Perspective on Capital Structure Choice and Internal Capital Markets," NBER Working Papers 9715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hines, James R, Jr & Rice, Eric M, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-82, February.
  4. Clemens Fuest & Thomas Hemmelgarn, 2003. "Corporate Tax Policy, Foreign Firm Ownership and Thin Capitalization," CESifo Working Paper Series 1096, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Hines Jr., James R., 2009. "Which countries become tax havens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1058-1068, October.
  6. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June Cita.
  7. Hong, Qing & Smart, Michael, 2010. "In praise of tax havens: International tax planning and foreign direct investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 82-95, January.
  8. Stöwhase, Sven, 2004. "Asymmetric Capital Tax Competition with Profit Shifting," Discussion Papers in Economics 454, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Bartelsman, Eric J & Beetsma, Roel, 2000. "Why Pay More? Corporate Tax Avoidance Through Transfer Pricing in OECD Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 2543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Clausing, Kimberly A., 2003. "Tax-motivated transfer pricing and US intrafirm trade prices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2207-2223, September.
  11. PERALTA, Susana & WAUTHY, Xavier & VAN YPERSELE, Tanguy, . "Should countries control international profit shifting?," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1795, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John D., 2009. "Tax competition with parasitic tax havens," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1261-1270, December.
  13. Keen, Michael, 2001. "Preferential Regimes Can Make Tax Competition Less Harmful," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 757-62, December .
  14. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
  15. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  16. Wilson, John Douglas, 1987. "Trade in a Tiebout Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 431-41, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Shafik Hebous, 2011. "Money at the Docks of Tax Havens: A Guide," CESifo Working Paper Series 3587, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. May Elsayyad, 2012. "Bargaining over Tax Information Exchange," Working Papers bargaining_over_tax_infor, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  3. Shafik Hebous & Vilen Lipatov, 2012. "A Journey from a Corruption Port to a Tax Haven," Working Papers 1204, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  4. Chu, Hsun, 2013. "Tax Enforcement Policy and the Provision of Public Goods with the Presence of Tax Havens," MPRA Paper 53021, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2013.
  5. Johannesen, Niels, 2012. "Optimal fiscal barriers to international economic integration in the presence of tax havens," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 400-416.
  6. Elsayyad, May & Konrad, Kai A., 2012. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Munich Reprints in Economics 13964, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  7. Stöwhase, Sven, 2006. "Discrete investment and tax competition when firms shift profits," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 52, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  8. Michael Keen & Kai A. Konrad, 2012. "International Tax Competition and Coordination," Working Papers international_tax_competi, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
  9. Chu, Hsun & Lai, Ching-Chong & Cheng, Chu-Chuan, 2013. "Tax Havens, Growth, and Welfare," MPRA Paper 52878, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2013.

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