Attracting private investment: Tax reduction, investment subsidy, or both?
This paper uses a real-option model to examine the net benefit to a government from using tax cut and/or investment subsidy as incentives to induce immediate investment. Although earlier papers generally concluded that investment subsidy dominates tax cut, it is observed that many governments use a combination of subsidy and tax cut. We show that, when the government uses a different discount rate from private firms, and when it has to borrow money to provide an investment subsidy, it is possible to get an internal optimum; that is, it might be optimal for the government to provide an investment subsidy as well as charge a positive tax rate on the profits from the project. Thus, we provide an explanation for the puzzling fact that many governments provide an investment subsidy to a firm while simultaneously taxing its profits.
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