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International competition in corporate taxation: evidence from the OECD time series

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  • Kenneth Stewart
  • Michael Webb

Abstract

type="main" xml:lang="en"> Despite numerous studies, controversy remains about the impact of economic globalization on corporate taxation. Theoretical models of tax competition generate different predictions about trends in the level of tax burdens and the degree of convergence in tax burdens across countries. In this paper we present a purely empirical analysis of the evolution of tax burdens across OECD countries since the 1950s. Issues of measurement and methodology have contributed to the inconclusive character of studies to date, so we begin with an assessment of alternative measures of the burden. Problems with some commonly used measures of the tax burden are considered and the most plausible measures identified. Descriptive analysis of these time series reveals no evidence of a competitive ‘race to the bottom’ in corporate taxation and little evidence of even a harmonization of the tax burden. Many inferential studies of corporate taxation base their conclusions on cross-sectional analysis; in contrast, we adopt an explicitly time-series method to what are essentially time-series questions. Cointegration methodology originally developed to study issues of convergence of living standards is applied, and fails to reveal evidence of convergence of tax burdens for the OECD and Europe as a whole. It does, however, indicate that there has been some harmonization within smaller groups of countries, mainly in northern Europe. Important questions remain about the effectiveness and impact of corporate taxation in an increasingly open and integrated global economy, but we find little evidence to support fears that the burden of taxation is being lifted from corporations. — Kenneth Stewart and Michael Webb

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Stewart & Michael Webb, 2006. "International competition in corporate taxation: evidence from the OECD time series," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 21(45), pages 153-201, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecpoli:v:21:y:2006:i:45:p:153-201
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-0327.2006.00156.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Ganghof, Steffen & Genschel, Philipp, 2007. "Taxation and Democracy in the EU," MPIfG Discussion Paper 07/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Kai Konrad, 2008. "Mobile tax base as a global common," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(4), pages 395-414, August.
    3. Karkalakos, Sotiris & Makris, Miltiadis, 2008. "Capital Tax Competition in the European Union: Theory and Evidence from Two Natural Experiments," MPRA Paper 21437, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
    4. König, Tobias & Wagener, Andreas, 2008. "(Post-)Materialist Attitudes and the Mix of Capital and Labour Taxation," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-404, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    5. Melle Marco C., 2015. "Begünstigungen und Schranken in der europäischen Unternehmensbesteuerung – eine evolutorisch-ökonomische Sicht / Preferential treatments and barriers in the European company taxation – an evolutionary," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 66(1), pages 115-146, January.
    6. C. Dembour, 2008. "Competition for Business Location: A Survey," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 89-111, June.
    7. Yang Chen & Juan Cuestas & Paulo Regis, 2014. "Corporate Tax Convergence in Asian and Pacific Economies," TUT Economic Research Series 17, Department of Finance and Economics, Tallinn University of Technology.
    8. Christos Kotsogiannis & Konstantinos Serfes, 2010. "Public Goods and Tax Competition in a Two-Sided Market," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(2), pages 281-321, April.
    9. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Nicolas Gobalraja & Alain Trannoy, 2007. "Tax and public input competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 385-430, April.
    10. Manmohan S. Kumar & Dennis P. Quinn, 2012. "Globalization and Corporate Taxation," IMF Working Papers 12/252, International Monetary Fund.
    11. European Commission, 2011. "Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2011: tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability," Taxation Papers 28, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    12. Clausing Kimberly A, 2008. "Closer Economic Integration and Corporate Tax Systems," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-30, June.
    13. Melle Marco C., 2014. "Eine europäische Bemessungsgrundlage für die Körperschaftsteuer? Konzeption und ordnungsökonomische Analyse / Conceptual design and constitutional economics analysis of a European tax base for corpora," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 65(1), pages 133-156, January.
    14. Maksym Ivanyna, 2008. "Tax competition and governmental efficiency: Theory and evidence," Working Papers 059, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    15. Philipp Genschel & Achim Kemmerling & Eric Seils, 2011. "Accelerating Downhill: How the EU Shapes Corporate Tax Competition in the Single Market," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 585-606, May.
    16. Adriana Giurgiu, 2012. "Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital – By K.P. Thomas," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 190-190, January.
    17. Till Gross, 2013. "Capital Tax Competition and Dynamic Optimal Taxation," Carleton Economic Papers 13-08, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    18. Neumann, Rebecca & Holman, Jill & Alm, James, 2009. "Globalization and tax policy," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 193-211, August.

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