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The Impact of Corporate and Personal Income Taxes on the Location of Firms and on Employment: Some Panel Evidence for the Swiss Cantons

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  • Lars P. Feld
  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

The impact of corporate income taxes on location decisions of firms is widely debated in the tax competition literature. Tax rate differences across jurisdictions may lead to distortions of firms’ investment decisions. Empirical evidence on tax induced relocation and subsequent economic development in the U.S. and Europe is still inconclusive. Much the same applies to Switzerland. While there is some evidence on personal income tax competition between Swiss cantons, evidence on the impact of intercantonal corporate income tax differences on the location of business within Switzerland is missing. In this paper, we present econometric evidence on the influence of corporate and personal income taxes on the regional distribution of firms in 1981 and 1991 and on cantonal employment using a panel data set of the 26 Swiss cantons from 1985 to 1997. The results show that corporate and personal income taxes deter firms to locate in a canton and subsequently reduce cantonal employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 455.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_455

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Keywords: Corporate income taxes; personal income taxes; tax competition; business location;

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  1. Roger H. Gordon, 1982. "An Optimal Taxation Approach to Fiscal Federalism," NBER Working Papers 1004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gordon, Roger H, 1992. " Can Capital Income Taxes Survive in Open Economies?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1159-80, July.
  3. Milad ZARIN-NEJADAN, 1992. "Fiscalité, q de Tobin et investissement privé en Suisse," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1992025, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  4. James R. Hines Jr., 1993. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," NBER Working Papers 4397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The selection principle and market failure in systems competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 247-274, November.
  6. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
  7. Leslie E. Papke, 1989. "Interstate Business Tax Differentials and New Firm Location: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 1998. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 335-367, June.
  9. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
  10. Newman, Robert J. & Sullivan, Dennis H., 1988. "Econometric analysis of business tax impacts on industrial location: What do we know, and how do we know it?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 215-234, March.
  11. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
  12. Junge, G & Zarinnejadan, M, 1986. "A Rate-of-Return Model of Investment Behavior for Switzerland," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 153-67.
  13. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 1998. "Multinational Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital: The Many Roads Home," Departmental Working Papers 199807, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  14. Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2001. "Income tax competition at the State and Local Level in Switzerland," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2-3), pages 181-213, April.
  15. Mark, Stephen T. & McGuire, Therese J. & Papke, Leslie E., 2000. "The Influence of Taxes on Employment and Population Growth: Evidence from the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 105-24, March.
  16. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1996. "Tax harmonization and tax competition in the European Union: Lessons from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 351-371, June.
  17. Carlton, Dennis W, 1983. "The Location and Employment Choices of New Firms: An Econometric Model with Discrete and Continuous Endogenous Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 440-49, August.
  18. Robert Tannenwald, 1996. "State business tax climate: how should it be measured and how important is it?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Jan, pages 23-38.
  19. Feld, Lars P, 2000. " Tax Competition and Income Redistribution: An Empirical Analysis for Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 105(1-2), pages 125-64, October.
  20. Carroll, Robert & Wasylenko, Michael J., 1994. "Do State Business Climates Still Matter? -- Evidence of a Structural Change," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 19-37, March.
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