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Taxes and the quality of capital

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  • Goolsbee, Austan

Abstract

This paper shows that tax policy toward investment, by changing the relative prices of capital varieties, can have a direct effect on the quality of capital goods that firms purchase. The empirical results indicate that this impact is economically important and readily apparent in disaggregated data on farming, mining, and construction machinery. The paper also applies a general method for aggregation using index number theory which suggests that all of the investment increase generated by tax subsidies comes from buying higher quality capital goods as opposed to buying a larger number of capital goods. It shows, further, that the supply of capital is upward sloping with an elasticity of about one. The tax induced quality changes documented in the paper imply a tax distortion whose deadweight loss is neglected in the conventional literature but whose magnitude indicates may represent a substantial efficiency cost from capital taxation (or subsidy).

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (March)
Pages: 519-543

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:3-4:p:519-543

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Walch, Florian & Dwenger, Nadja, 2011. "Tax Losses and Firm Investment: Evidence from Tax Statistics," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48699, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  2. John Bailey Jones, 1999. "Has Fiscal Policy Helped Stabilize the Postwar U.S. Economy?," Discussion Papers 99-03, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  3. Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Dietrich Vollrath & Indrit Hoxa, 2009. "How Big Are The Gains From International Financial Integration?," 2009 Meeting Papers 143, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Liu, Liqun, 2011. "The Alchian-Allen theorem and the law of relative demand: The case of multiple quality-differentiable brands," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 52-57, January.
  5. Ellen R. McGrattan & James A. Schmitz, Jr., 1999. "Maintenance and repair: too big to ignore," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Fall, pages 2-13.
  6. Stephen Bond & Jing Xing, 2010. "Corporate taxation and capital accumulation," Working Papers 1015, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  7. repec:clg:wpaper:2014-37 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Daniel Wilson, 2004. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogenous Capital to Productivity," Working Papers 04-20, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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