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Which Communities should be afraid of Mobility? The Effects of Agglomeration Economies on the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Local Taxes

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  • Jordi Jofre-Monseny
  • Albert Solé-Ollé

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of agglomeration economies (AE) on the sensitivity of firm location to tax differentials. An initial reading of the story suggests that, with AE, when a firm moves into a community attracted by a tax reduction, other firms may decide to move in as well. This suggests that AE increase the sensitivity of firm location to local taxes. However, a second version of the story reads that, if economic activities are highly concentrated in space, AE might offset any tax differential, hence suggesting a reduction in this sensitivity. This paper provides a theoretical model of intraregional firm location with Marshallian AE that is able to generate both hypotheses: AE increase (decrease) the effect of taxes when locations are (are not) of a similar size. We then use Spanish municipal data for the period 1995-2002 to test these hypotheses, analyzing the combined effect of local business taxes and Marshallian AE on the intraregional location of employment. In line with the theory, a municipality with stronger AE experiences lower (higher) tax effects if it is sufficiently dissimilar (similar) to its neighbors in terms of size.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2311.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2311

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Keywords: local taxes; agglomeration economies; local employment growth; instrumental variables;

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References

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  1. Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Henry Overman, 2006. "Assessing the Effects of Local Taxation Using Microgeographic Data," CEP Discussion Papers dp0748, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Brülhart, Marius & Jametti, Mario & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2007. "Do Agglomeration Economies Reduce the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Tax Differentials?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6606, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Fredrik Andersson & Rikard Forslid, 2000. "Tax Competition and Economic Geography," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1356, Econometric Society.
  4. Sylvie Charlot & Sonia Paty, 2007. "Market access effect and local tax setting: evidence from French panel data," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 247-263, May.
  5. Goolsbee, Austan & Maydew, Edward L., 2000. "Coveting thy neighbor's manufacturing: the dilemma of state income apportionment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 125-143, January.
  6. James R. Hines Jr., 1997. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," NBER Working Papers 4397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
  8. Buettner, Thiess, 2003. "Tax base effects and fiscal externalities of local capital taxation: evidence from a panel of German jurisdictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 110-128, July.
  9. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Fredrik Carlsen & Bjørg Langset & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The relationship between firm mobility and tax level: Empirical evidence of fiscal competition between local governments," Discussion Papers 424, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  11. Borck, Rainald & Pflüger, Michael P., 2004. "Agglomeration and Tax Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 1033, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Jordi Jofre Monseny & Alberto Sole Olle, 2007. "Tax Differentials and Agglomeration Economies in Intraregional Firm Location," Working Papers in Economics 180, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  13. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June Cita.
  14. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
  15. Ludema, Rodney D. & Wooton, Ian, 2000. "Economic geography and the fiscal effects of regional integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 331-357, December.
  16. John Burbidge & Katherine Cuff & John Leach, 2005. "Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 05001, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  17. Fernandez, Gonzalo E., 2005. "A note on tax competition in the presence of agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 837-847, November.
  18. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff & Nicolas Marceau, 2004. "Agglomeration Effects and the Competition for Firms," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(5), pages 623-645, 09.
  19. Paulo Guimar�es & Octávio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2007. "Measuring The Localization Of Economic Activity: A Parametric Approach," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 753-774.
  20. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel & Simpson, Helen, 2007. "Firm location decisions, regional grants and agglomeration externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 413-435, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Hyun-Ju Koh & Nadine Riedel, 2010. "Do governments tax agglomeration rents?," Working Papers 2010/21, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  2. Jordi Jofre-Monseny, 2010. "Is agglomeration taxable?," Working Papers 2010/15, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. Hansjörg Blöchliger & José Maria Pinero Campos, 2011. "Tax Competition Between Sub-Central Governments," OECD Working Papers on Fiscal Federalism 13, OECD Publishing.

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