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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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Author Info

  • Jordi Jofre-Monseny

    ()
    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Albert Solé-Ollé

    ()
    (Universitat de Barcelona, IEB & CESifo)

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 Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2008/4.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/3/doc2008-4

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

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References

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  1. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
  2. Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon & Henry G. Overman, 2011. "Assessing the Effects of Local Taxation using Microgeographic Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(555), pages 1017-1046, 09.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Fredrik Andersson & Rikard Forslid, 2000. "Tax Competition and Economic Geography," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1356, Econometric Society.
  6. Marius Brülhart & Mario Jametti & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2007. "Do agglomeration economies reduce the sensitivity of firm location to tax differentials?," Economics Working Papers 1062, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Richard Baldwin; Paul Krugman, 2001. "Agglomeration, Integration and Tax Harmonization," IHEID Working Papers 01-2001, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Borck, Rainald & Pflüger, Michael P., 2004. "Agglomeration and Tax Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 1033, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
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  14. John Burbidge & Katherine Cuff & John Leach, 2005. "Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 05001, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
  15. 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.
  16. Carlsen, Fredrik & Langset, Bjorg & Rattso, Jorn, 2005. "The relationship between firm mobility and tax level: Empirical evidence of fiscal competition between local governments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 273-288, September.
  17. Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," NBER Technical Working Papers 0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
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  21. Austan Goolsbee & Edward L Maydew, 1998. "Coveting Thy Neighbor's Manuafacturing: The Dilemma of State Income Apportionment," NBER Working Papers 6614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Hyun-Ju Koh & Nadine Riedel, 2010. "Do Governments Tax Agglomeration Rents?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2976, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Hansjörg Blöchliger & José Maria Pinero Campos, 2011. "Tax Competition Between Sub-Central Governments," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 872, OECD Publishing.
  3. Jordi Jofre-Monseny, 2010. "Is agglomeration taxable?," Working Papers 2010/15, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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