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Adjusting national tax policy to economic internationalization: Strategies and outcomes

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  • Ganghof, Steffen
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    Abstract

    Competitive pressures in corporate and personal income taxation have increased the marginal economic and political costs of taxation during the last 25 years. This contributed to the fact that since the mid-1980s, capital income and total tax revenues as well as public expenditures (all as percentage of GDP) of the 18 most advanced OECD countries have, on average, no longer shown a medium-term upward trend. However, contrary to widespread beliefs, the OECD-18 averages for these three variables do not show a downward trend, either. How can this medium-term stability of capital income tax revenues, total tax revenues and public expenditures be explained? On the basis of an investigation of the nature of adjustment pressures and strategies, the paper highlights two explanations. First, competitive pressures on the tax mix, the revenue mix, and the budget size have partly been offset by countervailing – domestic and international – pressures. Second, given strong budgetary constraints on general cuts in effective income tax rates, most governments have pursued three revenue-preserving adjustment strategies that take the precise nature of competitive pressures into account. Governments have pursued a policy of tax-cut-cum-base-broadening, differentiated their income tax treatment according to differences in competitive pressures, and combatted international tax avoidance and evasion with legal and administrative measures. These strategies have been successful in limiting revenue losses. However, increased (explicit) differentiation of income tax treatment does conflict with established principles of neutral and just taxation. Thus, competitive pressures have resulted, in part, in a changed and more controversial structure of taxation rather than large-scale revenue losses. -- Durch den internationalen Steuerwettbewerb sind die marginalen ökonomischen und politischen Kosten der Einkommensbesteuerung in den letzten 25 Jahren gestiegen. Dies hat dazu beigetragen, daß die Einnahmen aus Kapitaleinkommen, die Gesamteinnahmen aus Steuern und Abgaben sowie die öffentlichen Ausgaben seit Mitte der achtziger Jahre im Durchschnitt der 18 fortgeschrittensten OECD-Staaten keine eindeutig steigende Tendenz mehr aufweisen. Der OECD-18 Durchschnitt für diese drei Variablen weist allerdings auch keine fallende Tendenz auf. Wie ist diese mittelfristige Stabilität von Steuereinnahmen und Staatsausgaben zu erklären? Auf der Grundlage einer Untersuchung unterschiedlicher Mechanismen des Steuerwettbewerbs und unterschiedlicher Anpassungsstrategien werden insbesondere zwei Erklärungen angeführt. Erstens gab es sowohl innerstaatliche als auch internationale Einflußfaktoren, die einen dem Steuerwettbewerb entgegengesetzten Druck auf die Steuer- und Einnahmenstruktur sowie auf das Niveau der öffentlichen Ausgaben ausgeübt haben. Zweitens haben die meisten Regierungen angesichts angespannter öffentlicher Haushaltslagen Anpassungsstrategien gewählt, welche die nationale Wettbewerbsposition verbessern können, ohne zu großen Einnahmeausfällen zu führen. Sie haben die Steuersätze gesenkt und gleichzeitig die steuerliche Bemessungsgrundlage erweitert; sie haben die tarifliche Besteuerung unterschiedlicher Einkommensarten der Unterschiede im Wettbewerbsdruck entsprechend differenziert; und sie haben internationale Steuervermeidung und -hinterziehung durch rechtliche und administrative Maßnahmen bekämpft. Durch diese Anpassungsstrategien konnten die Einnahmeverluste zwar begrenzt werden, jedoch widerspricht vor allem die zunehmende steuerliche Differenzierung zwischen unterschiedlichen Einkommensarten etablierten Prinzipien neutraler und gerechter Besteuerung. Die bisherigen Auswirkungen des Steuerwettbewerbs zeigen sich mithin zum Teil eher in umstrittenen Veränderungen der Struktur der Einkommensbesteuerung als in umfangreichen Einnahmeverlusten.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 99/6.

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    Date of creation: 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:996

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    1. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    2. Alfons Weichenrieder, 1996. "Fighting international tax avoidance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(1), pages 37-58, February.
    3. John B. Shoven & John Whalley, 1992. "Canada-U.S. Tax Comparisons," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number shov92-1, July.
    4. Willi Leibfritz & John Thornton & Alexandra Bibbee, 1997. "Taxation and Economic Performance," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 176, OECD Publishing.
    5. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807, April.
    6. Günther G. Schulze & Heinrich W. Ursprung, 1999. "Globalisation of the Economy and the Nation State," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 295-352, 05.
    7. M. Bordignon & S. Giannini & P. Panteghini, 1998. "Corporate Taxation in Italy: an Analysis of the 1998 Reform," Working Papers 328, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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    1. repec:cge:warwcg:83 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Genschel, Philipp, 2001. "Globalization, tax competition, and the fiscal viability of the welfare state," MPIfG Working Paper 01/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    3. Troeger, Vera, 2012. "De Facto Capital Mobility, Equality, and Tax Policy in Open Economies," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 84, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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