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Does the Open Economy Assumption Really Mean That Labor Bears the Burden of a Capital Income Tax?

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  • Gravelle Jane G

    () (Congressional Research Service)

  • Smetters Kent A.

    () (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

The conventional view holds that domestic labor, not domestic capital, bears most of the long-run burden of a corporate income tax in an open economy due to the ability of capital to move across borders. This result assumes that domestic and foreign products (as well as investments) are perfect substitutes. This paper includes imperfect product substitution within a multi-sector open-economy model, and shows that much of the burden may fall on capital. To be sure, if savings falls sufficiently, much of the burden shifts to labor, but this fact also holds in a closed economy. Hence, the debate about tax incidence must focus more on the savings response and less on whether an economy is open or closed.

Suggested Citation

  • Gravelle Jane G & Smetters Kent A., 2006. "Does the Open Economy Assumption Really Mean That Labor Bears the Burden of a Capital Income Tax?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-44, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:advances.6:y:2006:i:1:n:3
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Owen Zidar, 2016. "Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 2582-2624.
    2. Liu, Li & Altshuler, Rosanne, 2013. "Measuring the Burden of the Corporate Income Tax Under Imperfect Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 215-237, March.
    3. Sergey Sinelnikov-Murylev & Elena Shkrebela, 2011. "Improvement of corporate profit tax in the Russian Federation in the medium term," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 149P.
    4. 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.
    5. Alison Felix, 2007. "Passing the burden: corporate tax incidence in open economies," Regional Research Working Paper RRWP 07-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    6. Alison Felix, 2007. "The incidence of capital taxation and the magnitude of its burden," Regional Research Working Paper RRWP 07-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    7. Jennifer C. Gravelle, 2011. "Incidencia del impuesto de renta a las sociedades: revisión y análisis de las estimaciones de equilibrio general," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 13(24), pages 153-191, January-J.
    8. Margaret K. McKeehan & George R. Zodrow, 2017. "Balancing act: weighing the factors affecting the taxation of capital income in a small open economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, pages 1-35.
    9. Arulampalam, Wiji & Devereux, Michael P. & Maffini, Giorgia, 2012. "The direct incidence of corporate income tax on wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1038-1054.
    10. Zodrow, George R. & Diamond, John W., 2013. "Dynamic Overlapping Generations Computable General Equilibrium Models and the Analysis of Tax Policy: The Diamond–Zodrow Model," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    11. repec:clh:resear:v:10:y:2017:i:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Thomas K. Bauer & Tanja Kasten & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2017. "Business Taxation and Wages: Redistribution and Asymmetric Effects," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 182-17, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
    13. 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.
    14. George R. Zodrow, 2007. "The Property Tax Incidence Debate and the Mix of State and Local Finance of Local Public Expenditures," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(4), pages 495-521, December.
    15. Don Fullerton & Erich Muehlegger, 2017. "Who Bears the Economic Costs of Environmental Regulations?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6596, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Nelly Exbrayat & Benny Geys, 2015. "Economic Integration, Corporate Tax Incidence and Fiscal Compensation," Working Papers 1534, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    17. repec:bla:worlde:v:39:y:2016:i:11:p:1792-1811 is not listed on IDEAS

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