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Who Bears the Burden of the Corporate Tax in The Open Economy?

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  • Jane Gravelle
  • Kent Smetters

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-run incidence of the corporate income tax in an open-economy model calibrated with two economies: the United States and a larger mirror economy representing the rest of the world. Imperfect substitutability of domestic and foreign products plays a key role in limiting - often eliminating - the incidence borne by domestic labor. We reach two novel conclusions. First, contrary to conventional wisdom, our analysis reveals that most of the long-run incidence of the corporate income tax is not borne by domestic labor. Nor is much of it borne by landowners. This finding is usually true even at an implausibly large portfolio substitution elasticity. The incidence is typically borne by domestic capital, as in the original Harberger (1962) closed-economy model. Second, for those parameter values in which the incidence is not borne mostly by domestic capital, interestingly, most of the incidence is exported. The exportation of the incidence of the corporate income tax, which has received little or no attention in the previous literature, might motivate tax coordination between countries. These results are robust to a range of parameter values and model assumptions. Our model is also compatible with several empirical rigidities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8280.

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Date of creation: May 2001
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Publication status: published as Gravelle, Jane G. and Kent A. Smetters. "Does The Open Economy Assumption Really Mean That Labor Bears The Burden Of A Capital Income Tax?," Advances in Economic Analysis and Policy, 2006, v6(1), Article 3.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8280

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Cited by:
  1. Hatice Jenkins & Glenn Jenkins, 2007. "Incidence of the WTO Anti-Discrimination Rules on Corporation Income Taxation," Working Papers 1123, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2007. "Budget Policy and Income Distribution," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0707, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  3. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 2004. "International tax coordination: regionalism versus globalism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1187-1214, June.
  4. Meh, C├ęsaire A., 2008. "Business risk, credit constraints, and corporate taxation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 2971-3008, September.
  5. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "Who Bears the Corporate Tax? A Review of What We Know," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 1-40 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872 Elsevier.
  7. Leon Bettendorf & Joeri Gorter & Albert van der Horst, 2006. "Who benefits from tax competition in the European Union?," CPB Document 125, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  8. George R. Zodrow, 2007. "Should Capital Income be Subject to Consumption-Based Taxation?," Working Papers 0715, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  9. Glenn P. Jenkins & Chun-Yan Kuo, 2013. "Taxing Mobile Capital in Free Trade Zones to the Detriment of Workers," Development Discussion Papers 2013-04, JDI Executive Programs.

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