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Taxes and Privatization

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  • Gordon, Roger H

Abstract

Why have state-owned firms been so common? One explanation, proposed in the past, is that if state firms can be induced to maximize pretax profits, then state ownership may be less inefficient than private ownership when corporate tax rates are high. If this argument were right, the capital intensity of state-owned firms should fall with privatization. The data instead show that firms lay off workers when they are privatized. Why? This Paper argues that the government can use cheap loans from state-owned banks to maintain the capital stock of privately owned firms at an efficient level, in spite of a high corporate tax rate. State-owned firms should then have the same capital intensity as equivalent privately owned firms. The Paper then argues that many other distortions to a private firm's incentives, e.g. the minimum wage, result in their employing too few low-skilled workers. State-owned firms, in contrast, can be induced to hire the desired number of such workers. This gain must be weighted against the presumed loss in productivity more generally from state ownership.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2977.

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Date of creation: Sep 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2977

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Related research

Keywords: corporate taxes; privatization;

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References

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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1997. "The Benefits of Privatization : Evidence from Mexico," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11583, The World Bank.
  2. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Pohl, Gerhard, 1997. "Ownership and corporate governance : evidence from the Czech Republic," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1737, The World Bank.
  3. Huizinga, H.P. & Nielsen, S.B., 1997. "Privatization, public investment and capital income taxation," Discussion Paper 1997-09, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Mathias Dewatripont & Eric Maskin, 1995. "Credit and efficiency in centralized and decentralized economies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9603, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Roger H. Gordon & Young Lee, 1999. "Do Taxes Affect Corporate Debt Policy? Evidence from US Corporate Tax Return Data," NBER Working Papers 7433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bradford, D., 1988. "An Uncluttered Income Tax: The Next Reform Agenda," Papers 20, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  7. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
  8. Gordon, Roger H. & Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D., 1999. "Efficiency losses from tax distortions vs. government control," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1095-1103, April.
  9. Naito, Hisahiro, 1999. "Re-examination of uniform commodity taxes under a non-linear income tax system and its implication for production efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 165-188, February.
  10. Gordon, Roger H. & Bradford, David F., 1980. "Taxation and the stock market valuation of capital gains and dividends : Theory and emphirical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 109-136, October.
  11. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2004. "Why Is the Public Sector More Labor-Intensive? A Distortionary Tax Argument," IZA Discussion Papers 1413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sebastian Kessing & Kai A. Konrad, 2006. "Time Consistency and Bureaucratic Budget Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 1791, CESifo Group Munich.

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