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

Author

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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
    DOI: 10.2202/1538-0637.1548
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    Cited by:

    1. Nelly Exbrayat & Benny Geys, 2016. "Economic Integration, Corporate Tax Incidence and Fiscal Compensation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(11), pages 1792-1811, November.
    2. 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, vol. 106(9), pages 2582-2624, September.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, in: Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.), Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 743-813, Elsevier.
    6. Knaisch, Jonas & Pöschel, Carla, 2021. "Corporate income tax and wages: A meta-regression analysis," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 262, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    7. Kakpo Eliakim, 2021. "Do Large Corporate Tax Cuts Boost Wages? Evidence from Ohio," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(2), pages 537-575, April.
    8. Chengrui Xiao, 2020. "Intergovernmental revenue relations, tax enforcement and tax shifting: evidence from China," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(1), pages 128-152, February.
    9. Margaret K. McKeehan & George R. Zodrow, 2019. "Balancing Act: Weighing the Factors Affecting the Taxation of Capital Income in a Small Open Economy," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: George R Zodrow (ed.), TAXATION IN THEORY AND PRACTICE Selected Essays of George R. Zodrow, chapter 12, pages 347-396, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Thomas K. Bauer & Tanja Kasten & Lars-H. R. Siemers, 2017. "Business Taxation and Wages: Redistribution and Asymmetric Effects," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201732, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    11. Liu, Li & Altshuler, Rosanne, 2013. "Measuring the Burden of the Corporate Income Tax Under Imperfect Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(1), pages 215-237, March.
    12. 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.
    13. Kenneth J. McKenzie & Ergete Ferede, 2017. "Who Pays the Corporate Tax?: Insights from the Literature and Evidence for Canadian Provinces," SPP Research Papers, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, vol. 10(6), April.
    14. Don Fullerton & Erich Muehlegger, 2017. "Who Bears the Economic Costs of Environmental Regulations?," NBER Working Papers 23677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Federici, Daniela & Parisi, Valentino & Ferrante, Francesco, 2020. "Heterogeneous firms, corporate taxes and export behavior: A firm-level investigation for Italy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 98-112.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. Siraj G. Bawa & Nam T. Vu, 2020. "International effects of corporate tax cuts on income distribution," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(5), pages 1164-1190, November.
    20. 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.
    21. Kakpo, Eliakim, 2018. "The corporate tax, apportionment rules and employment: Evidence using policy discontinuity at U.S. state borders," MPRA Paper 94875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. 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.
    23. Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur, 2015. "A spatial model of corporate tax incidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(13), pages 1350-1365, March.

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