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Homogeneous Profit Tax Effects for Heterogeneous Firms?

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  • Peter Egger
  • Simon Loretz

Abstract

Abstract In most countries, profit taxation is probably much more relevant nowadays than trade liberalisation when it comes to firm-level decisions about investment. Empirically, firms are quite heterogeneous with regard to fixed costs: the composition of assets (tangible versus intangible; machinery versus buildings; etc.) and the financing of investments. Then, even uniform changes in profit tax instruments cause heterogeneous responses of firm-level effective tax rates and, hence, after-tax profits. We argue that, with similar profit margins, firms would then require pre-tax profits to differ as well. Governments change statutory profit tax rates and, by virtue of firms' heterogeneity, they cause stark selection effects which are mainly related to heterogeneous fixed rather than variable costs. We compute costs of capital for a large sample of firms to illustrate how homogeneous changes in tax instruments hit firms differently. Using Bureau van Dijk's ORBIS database, we illustrate that the effects of changes in statutory instruments have relatively large systematic variance components across industries within countries and also relatively large ones of firms within industries and countries. Copyright 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Egger & Simon Loretz, 2010. "Homogeneous Profit Tax Effects for Heterogeneous Firms?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(8), pages 1023-1041, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:33:y:2010:i:8:p:1023-1041
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2012. "Corporate Taxation and Exports," Working Papers 2012-01, Universita' di Cassino, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche.
    2. Michael P. Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2012. "How Would EU Corporate Tax Reform Affect US Investment in Europe?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 26, pages 59-91 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ortmann, Regina & Sureth, Caren, 2014. "Can the CCCTB alleviate tax discrimination against loss-making European multinational groups?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 165, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    4. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2015. "Taxation and the User Cost of Capital: An Introduction," Treasury Working Paper Series 15/02, New Zealand Treasury.
    5. Daniela Federici & Valentino Parisi, 2014. "Corporate Taxation and Exports: Evidence from Italian Firm-Level Data," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 4, pages 23-38, May.
    6. Egger, Peter & Erhardt, Katharina & Keuschnigg, Christian, 2014. "Heterogeneous Tax Sensitivity of Firm-level Investments," Economics Series 306, Institute for Advanced Studies.

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