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Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors

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  • Ufuk Akcigit
  • Salomé Baslandze
  • Stefanie Stantcheva

Abstract

We study the effect of top tax rates on "superstar" inventors' international mobility since 1977, using panel data on inventors from the US and European Patent Offices. We exploit the differential impact of changes in top tax rates on inventors of different qualities. Superstar inventors' location choices are significantly affected by top tax rates. In our preferred specification, the elasticity to the net-of-tax rate of the number of domestic superstar inventors is around 0.03, while that of foreign superstar inventors is around 1. These elasticities are larger for inventors in multinational companies. An inventor is less sensitive to taxes in a country if his company performs a higher share of its research there.

Suggested Citation

  • Ufuk Akcigit & Salomé Baslandze & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 2930-2981, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:106:y:2016:i:10:p:2930-81
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150237
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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