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The Seesaw Principle in International Tax Policy

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  • Joel Slemrod
  • Carl Hansen
  • Roger Procter

Abstract

The standard analysis of the optimal international tax policy of a small country typically assumes that the country either imports or exports capital, but does not do both. This paper considers the situation in which a small country both exports and imports capital and can alter its tax on one or the other, but not both. In each case, a 'seesaw' relationship is identified, in which the optimal tax on the income from capital exports (imports) is inversely related to the given tax rate on income from capital imports (exports). The standard results for optimal taxation of capital exports and imports are shown to be special cases of the more general seesaw principle.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4867.

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Date of creation: Sep 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 65, no. 2 (August 1997): 163-176.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4867

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  1. Jacob Frenkel & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1991. "International Taxation in an Integrated World," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061430, December.
  2. Ravi Kanbur & Michael Keen, 1991. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination when Countries Differ in Size," Working Papers 819, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Bruce, Neil, 1992. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(202), pages 217-21, September.
  4. Mintz, J. & Tulkens, H., 1984. "Commodity tax competition between member states of a federation: equilibrium and efficiency," CORE Discussion Papers 1984027, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. Dutton, John, 1982. "The Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income: A Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 373-80, May.
  6. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1990. "Integration of International Capital Markets: The Size of Government and Tax Coordination," NBER Chapters, in: Taxation in the Global Economy, pages 331-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:fth:michin:257 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Slemrod, Joel & Hansen, Carl & Procter, Roger, 1997. "The seesaw principle in international tax policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 163-176, August.
  9. Joel Slemrod, 1995. "Free trade taxation and protectionist taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 471-489, October.
  10. 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.
  11. G. D. A. MacDougall, 1960. "THE BENEFITS and COSTS OF PRIVATE INVESTMENT FROM ABROAD: A THEORETICAL APPROACH," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 36(73), pages 13-35, 03.
  12. Murray C. Kemp, 1962. "Foreign Investment And The National Advantage," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 38(81), pages 56-62, 03.
  13. Feldstein, Martin S, 1978. "The Welfare Cost of Capital Income Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages S29-51, April.
  14. Martin Feldstein & David G. Hartman, 1980. "The Optimal Taxation of Foreign Source Investment Income," NBER Working Papers 0193, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bond, E.W. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Strategic Behavior And The Rules For International Taxation Of Capital," Papers 3-88-10, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  16. Slemrod, J., 1990. "A North-South Model Of Taxation And Capital Flows," Working Papers 257, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  17. 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.
  18. Roger H. Gordon, 1990. "Can Capital Income Taxes Survive in Open Economies?," NBER Working Papers 3416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. David G. Hartman, 1985. "On the Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in the Open Economy," NBER Working Papers 1550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1990. "Integration of the International Capital Markets: The Size of Government and Tax Coordination," NBER Working Papers 2863, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Michael Devereux & Clemens Fuest & Ben Lockwood, 2013. "The Taxation of Foreign Profits: a Unified View," Working Papers 1303, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  2. Christian Keuschnigg & Martin Dietz, 2007. "A growth oriented dual income tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 191-221, April.
  3. Auerbach, Alan J., 2006. "The U.S. Tax System in International Perspective: A Review of the 2006 Economic Report of the PresidentiÌs Tax Chapter," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt23b9n6bp, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  4. Slemrod, Joel & Hansen, Carl & Procter, Roger, 1997. "The seesaw principle in international tax policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 163-176, August.
  5. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo & Riezman, Raymond, 2007. "Is Partial Tax Harmonization Desirable?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 795, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. Rousslang, Donald J., 2000. "Deferral and the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 589-600, September.
  7. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2003. "Evaluating International Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(3), pages 487-502, September.
  8. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines Jr., 2002. "International Taxation," NBER Working Papers 8854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2011. "Dual Income Taxation: A Promising Path to Tax Reform for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1691-1703.
  10. Mackie James & J. Rousslang Donald, 2000. "The Optimal Taxation of Income From International Investment: A Geometric Analysis," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 77-86.
  11. Andreas Haufler, 1996. "Optimal factor and commodity taxation in a small open economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 523-527, October.

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