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The Unified Enterprise Tax and SOEs in China

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  • John Whalley
  • Li Wang

Abstract

Currently proposals are actively circulating in China to move to a unified enterprise tax structure with similar tax treatment of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), other private enterprises (OPE) and foreign investment enterprises (FIEs). FIEs presently receive significant tax preferences through a sharply lower tax rate, tax holidays and other provisions. Here we use analytical representations of SOE behavior, which differ from that of the competitive firm, to argue that a unified tax structure may not be a desirable tax change and that typically a higher tax rate on SOEs is called for on efficiency grounds. Using a worker control model with endogenously determined shirking, taxes on SOEs reduce shirking and a reduced SOE tax rate under a unified tax relaxes discipline on SOEs and losses result. Our results indicate a 0.26% of GDP welfare loss using 2004 data from a unified tax, and larger loss relative to an optimal tax scheme. Alternatively, if we use a managerial control model variant, we find a 0.19% welfare loss from a unified tax, and larger losses relative to initial higher SOE tax rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12899.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12899

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  1. Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1984. "Applied General-Equilibrium Models of Taxation and International Trade: An Introduction and Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 22(3), pages 1007-51, September.
  2. John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1972. "A General Equilibrium Calculation of the Effects of Differential Taxation of Income from Capital in the U.S," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 328, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
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Cited by:
  1. Ji, Jingjing & Ye, Zhiqiang & Zhang, Shunming, 2013. "Welfare analysis on optimal enterprise tax rate in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 149-158.
  2. van der Hoek, M. Peter & Kong, Shuhong & Li, Zhenzi, 2008. "The dual corporate income tax in China: the impact of unification," MPRA Paper 11547, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Aug 2008.

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