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Canada - U.S. Free Trade and Pressures for Tax Harmonization

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  • Roger H. Gordon

Abstract

To what degree will the recent free-trade agreement create pressure on the U.S. and Canada to modify, and perhaps harmonize, their tax systems? What will be the implications of the more extensive policy changes now going on within the E.C.? This paper examines the types of pressures for reform created by recent agreements, focussing in turn on the pressures created by capital mobility, elimination to tariff and nontariff barriers, and mobility of individuals. As shown in the local public finance literature, unrestricted individuals and firms pay tax in accordance with the costs they impose on the community. More limited mobility should have more limited effects. Since existing national tax structures differ dramatically from those that have evolved to finance local governments, however, even limited mobility can force substantial changes in each country's fiscal structure. In addition to characterizing the equilibrium tax structure that should result, given increased mobility, the paper also explores the circumstances in which there can be mutual gains from moving away from the equilibrium tax structure.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3327.

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Date of creation: Apr 1990
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Publication status: published as Canada-U.S. Tax Comparisons John B. Shoven and John Whalley Eds., University of Chicago Press, 1992
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3327

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  1. Bond, Eric W & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "Strategic Behaviour and the Rules for International Taxation of Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1099-1111, December.
  2. Roger H. Gordon & James A. Levinsohn, 1990. "The Linkage between Domestic Taxes and Border Taxes," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 357-396 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roger H. Gordon & Hal R. Varian, 1986. "Taxation of Asset Income in the Presence of a World Securites Market," NBER Working Papers 1994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  5. Alberto Giovannini & James R. Hines, Jr., 1990. "Capital Flight and Tax Competition: Are There Viable Solutions to Both Problems?," NBER Working Papers 3333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Findlay, Christopher C, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of International Income Flows," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 62(177), pages 208-14, June.
  7. Hartman, David G., 1985. "Tax policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-121, February.
  8. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1986. "The General Theory of Tax Avoidance," NBER Working Papers 1868, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Leechor, Chad & Mintz, Jack, 1993. "On the taxation of multinational corporate investment when the deferral method is used by the capital exporting country," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 75-96, May.
  10. Boadway, Robin & Bruce, Neil, 1992. "Problems with integrating corporate and personal income taxes in an open economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 39-66, June.
  11. Buchanan, James M. & Goetz, Charles J., 1972. "Efficiency limits of fiscal mobility: An assessment of the tiebout model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 25-43, April.
  12. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1, October.
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