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Tax Incentives and Business Investment: New Evidence from Mexico

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  • Ramirez Verdugo, Arturo

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the response of business investment to tax incentives. I use the variation provided by recent reforms to the Mexican corporate tax system, including the elimination and reintroduction of accelerated depreciation allowances applicable to investment undertaken outside the three main Mexican metropolitan areas. I show that investment is very sensitive to changes in tax variables and interest rates, with an estimated elasticity of investment with respect to the user cost around -2.0. The results are robust to different specifications and instrumental variables approaches. The large elasticity is shown to be the result of the large cross sectional variation in the user cost of capital and also a product of the small open economy nature of the Mexican economy. In particular, large investment responses of plants owned by multinational firms and a elasticity of imported assets considerably larger than that of domestically purchased goods. Furthermore, the use of panel data at the establishment level allows me to identify the discrete nature of investment decisions and to show that the capital accumulation pattern is consistent with nonconvex adjustment costs and irreversibilities, similar to those found for the US. Thus, the large elasticity compared to US estimates cannot be attributed to differences in adjustment costs. Finally, I provide evidence that the large investment response is not an artifact of misreporting or tax evasion since the elasticity of investment in other assets such as transportation equipment and land, which is harder to misreport, is also high.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2272.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2005
Date of revision: 04 Oct 2006
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2272

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Keywords: Investment; taxes; user cost; manufacturing plants; Mexico;

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  1. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gaston Gelos, R. & Isgut, Alberto, 2001. "Irreversibilities in fixed capital adjustment: Evidence from Mexican and Colombian plants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 85-89, December.
  3. Feltenstein, Andrew & Shah, Anwar, 1992. "General equilibrium effects of investment incentives in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 927, The World Bank.
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  9. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "The Importance of Measurement Error in the Cost of Capital," NBER Working Papers 7558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Christopher L. House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2008. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 737-68, June.
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  14. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995 Elsevier.
  15. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  16. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  19. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  20. Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 2002. "Tax policy and business investment," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 20, pages 1293-1343 Elsevier.
  21. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
  22. Goolsbee, Austan, 2000. "The Importance of Measurement Error in the Cost of Capital," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 215-28, June.
  23. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  24. José Ernesto López Córdova & Mauricio Mesquita Moreira, 2003. "Regional Integration and Productivity: The Experiences of Brazil and Mexico," IDB Publications 23438, Inter-American Development Bank.
  25. Gordon, Roger H. & Ley, Eduardo, 1994. "Implications of Existing Tax Policy for Cross-Border Activity Between the United States and Mexico after NAFTA," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 435-46, June.
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