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Can Lower Tax Rates be Bought? Business Rent-Seeking and Tax Competition among U.S. States

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  • Robert S. Chirinko
  • Daniel J. Wilson

Abstract

The standard model of strategic tax competition assumes that government policymakers are perfectly benevolent, acting solely to maximize the utility of the representative resident in their jurisdiction. We depart from this assumption by allowing for the possibility that policymakers also may be influenced by the rent-seeking (lobbying) behavior of businesses. This extension to the standard strategic tax competition model implies that business contributions may affect not only the levels of equilibrium tax rates but also the slope of the tax reaction function between jurisdictions, thus enhancing or retarding the mobility of capital across jurisdictions. The model is estimated with panel data for 48 U.S. states and unique data on business campaign contributions. Among other results, we document a significant direct effect of business contributions on tax policy; the economic value of a $1 business campaign contribution in terms of lower state corporate taxes is approximately $6.65.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3121.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3121

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Keywords: business campaign contributions; state business tax policy; rent-seeking; capital mobility;

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References

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  1. Devereux, Michael P & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete Over Corporate Tax Rates?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 642, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  3. Robert S. Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2006. "State investment tax incentives: a zero-sum game?," Working Paper Series 2006-47, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Robert S. Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2011. "Tax Competition Among U.S. States: Racing to the Bottom or Riding on a Seesaw?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3535, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
  6. Michael J. Cooper & Huseyin Gulen & Alexei V. Ovtchinnikov, 2010. "Corporate Political Contributions and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(2), pages 687-724, 04.
  7. Jeremy Edwards & Michael Keen, 1994. "Tax competition and Leviathon," IFS Working Papers W94/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  9. Daniel Wilson, 2006. "The mystery of falling state corporate income taxes," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue dec8.
  10. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Michael Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2012. "What do we know about corporate tax competition?," Working Papers 1229, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  2. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming and Extreme Events: Rethinking the Timing and Intensity of Environmental Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3139, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Esteller-Moré, Alejandro & Galmarini, Umberto & Rizzo, Leonzio, 2012. "Vertical tax competition and consumption externalities in a federation with lobbying," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 295-305.
  4. 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.

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