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Could higher taxes increase the long-run demand for capital? Theory and evidence for Chile

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  • Bustos, Alvaro
  • Engel, Eduardo M. R. A.
  • Galetovic, Alexander

Abstract

Is a tax increase always detrimental for capital formation? This paper estimates a long-run demand for capital in Chile, and studies the responsiveness of firms’ desired capital stock to variations in tax rates. We combine the neoclassical model with a cointegration argument to obtain a long-run demand for capital that is valid for a general adjustment-cost structure. On theoretical grounds alone, there is no a priori reason why higher taxes should reduce the desired capital stock. Higher taxes reduce returns but simultaneously increase depreciation and interest payment allowances. When the sum of increased allowances is large enough, a higher corporate tax rate may reduce the cost of capital. We show that this result continues holding when the corporate veil is lifted and firms consider the income tax paid by its stockholders. The model is estimated with a panel of Chilean corporations with annual data between 1985 and 1995. The results we obtain suggest that changes in the corporate tax rate have almost no effect on the long run demand for capital: in 10 of the 11 years in our sample an increase in the corporate tax rate leads to a negligible increase in the desired capital stock. We also find that firms ignore the marginal rates their stockholders pay when they make investment decisions,i.e. there is a corporate veil.
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  • Bustos, Alvaro & Engel, Eduardo M. R. A. & Galetovic, Alexander, 2004. "Could higher taxes increase the long-run demand for capital? Theory and evidence for Chile," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 675-697, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:73:y:2004:i:2:p:675-697
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    1. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Jonathan A. Parker, 2007. "Taxes and Growth in a Financially Underdeveloped Country: Evidence from the Chilean Investment Boom," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2007), pages 1-53, August.
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    8. Alan J. Auerbach, 1983. "Corporate Taxation in the United States," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(2), pages 451-514.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo Cerda N. & José Ignacio Llodrá V., 2017. "Impuestos corporativos y capital: veintiséis años de evidencia en empresas," Journal Economía Chilena (The Chilean Economy), Central Bank of Chile, vol. 20(1), pages 050-071, April.
    2. Rodrigo Cerda & Felipe Larraín, 2005. "Inversión Privada e Impuestos Corporativos: Evidencia para Chile," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 42(126), pages 257-281.
    3. Cai, Jing & Harrison, Ann, 2011. "The value-added tax reform puzzle," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5788, The World Bank.
    4. Panousi, Vasia, 2009. "Capital Taxation with Entrepreneurial Risk," MPRA Paper 24237, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Cerda, Rodrigo & Fuentes, J. Rodrigo & García, Gonzalo & Llodrá, José Ignacio, 2015. "Understanding Domestic Savings in Chile," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7254, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. Yongzheng Liu & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2015. "Growth–Inequality Tradeoff in the Design of Tax Structure: Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 323-345, May.
    7. Rodrigo A. Cerda & Diego Saravia, 2009. "Corporate Tax, Firm Destruction and Capital Stock Accumulation: Evidence From Chilean Plants, 1979-2004," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 521, Central Bank of Chile.
    8. Ramón E. López & Pablo Gutiérrez Cubillos & Eugenio Figueroa, 2020. "The Tax Paradox and Weak Tax Neutrality," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(3), pages 1150-1169, January.
    9. Cristobal Marshall, 2010. "Is the Tax Credit for SME in Chile an Effective Policy to Boost Investment?," CID Working Papers 46, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    10. Chávez, Ricardo & García, Carlos J., 2016. "Reforma tributaria en fases," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(330), pages .275-310, abril-jun.
    11. Carlos Garcia & Jorge Restrepo, 2007. "How Effective is Government Spending in a Small Open Economy with Distortionary Taxes," ILADES-UAH Working Papers inv188, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Business.
    12. Rodrigo Cerda & J. Rodrigo Fuentes & Gonzalo García & José Ignacio Llodrá, 2015. "Understanding Domestic Savings in Chile," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 91437, Inter-American Development Bank.
    13. Jose De Gregorio, 2004. "Economic Growth in Chile: Evidence, Sources and Prospects," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 298, Central Bank of Chile.
    14. Rodrigo Cerda & Felipe Larrain, 2010. "Corporate taxes and the demand for labor and capital in developing countries," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 187-201, February.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory

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