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The Impact and Inefficiency of the Corporate Income Tax: Evidence from State Organizational Form Data

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  • Austan Goolsbee

Abstract

By double taxing the income of corporate firms but not unincorporated firms, taxes can play an important role in a firm's choice of organizational form. The sensitivity of the organizational form decision to tax rates can also be used to approximate the efficiency cost of the corporate income tax. This paper uses new cross-sectional data on organizational form across states compiled in the Census of Retail Trade to estimate this sensitivity. The results document a significant impact of the relative taxation of corporate to personal income on the share of economic activity that is done by corporations including sales, employment, and the number of firms. The impacts are substantially larger than those found in the previous empirical literature based on time-series data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9141.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Publication status: published as Goolsbee, Austan. "The Impact Of The Corporate Income Tax: Evidence From State Organizational Form Data," Journal of Public Economics, 2004, v88(11,Sep), 2283-2299.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9141

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  1. 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.
  2. Charles L. Ballard & John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1982. "The Welfare Cost of Distortions in the United States Tax System: A General Equilibrium Approach," NBER Working Papers 1043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jane G. Gravelle & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1988. "Does the Harberger Model Greatly Understate the Excess Burden of the Corporate Tax? - Another Model Says Yes," NBER Working Papers 2742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gentry, William M., 1994. "Taxes, financial decisions and organizational form : Evidence from publicly traded partnerships," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 223-244, February.
  5. Gordon, Roger H. & MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey K., 1994. "Tax distortions to the choice of organizational form," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 279-306, October.
  6. Jonathan Levin, 2002. "A Theory of Partnerships," Theory workshop papers 505798000000000002, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Taxes, organizational form, and the deadweight loss of the corporate income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 143-152, July.
  8. Jane G. Gravelle & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "The Incidence and Efficiency Costs of Corporate Taxation when Corporate and Noncorporate Firms Produce the Same Good," NBER Working Papers 2462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "The Effective Tax Rate and the Pretax Rate of Return," NBER Working Papers 0740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Myron S. Scholes & Mark A. Wolfson, 1991. "The Role of Tax Rules in the Recent Restructuring of U.S. Corporations," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 1-24 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gordon, Roger H & Wilson, John Douglas, 1986. "An Examination of Multijurisdictional Corporate Income Taxation under Formula Apportionment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1357-73, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Martin D. Dietz & Christian Keuschnigg, 2003. "Corporate Income Tax Reform in Switzerland," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 2003-07, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  2. Reuven Avi-Yonah, . "The Pitfalls of International Integration: A Comment on the Bush Proposal and Its Aftermath," University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics Working Paper Series umichlwps-1007, University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics.
  3. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," NBER Working Papers 10841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Goolsbee, Austan & Maydew, Edward, 2002. "Taxes and Organizational Form: The Case of REIT Spin-offs," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 441-56, September.
  5. Reuven Avi-Yonah, 2005. "The Pitfalls of International Integration: A Comment on the Bush Proposal and its Aftermath," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 87-95, January.
  6. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "The impact of the corporate income tax: evidence from state organizational form data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2283-2299, September.
  7. 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.

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