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Taxation, corruption, and growth

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  • Aghion, Philippe
  • Akcigit, Ufuk
  • Cagé, Julia
  • Kerr, William R.

Abstract

We build an endogenous growth model to analyze the relationships between taxation, corruption, and economic growth. Entrepreneurs lie at the center of the model and face disincentive effects from taxation but acquire positive benefits from public infrastructure. Political corruption governs the efficiency with which tax revenues are translated into infrastructure. The model predicts an inverted-U relationship between taxation and growth, with corruption reducing the optimal taxation level. We find evidence consistent with these predictions and the entrepreneurial channel using data from the Longitudinal Business Database of the US Census Bureau. The marginal effect of taxation for growth for a state at the 10th or 25th percentile of corruption is significantly positive; on the other hand, the marginal effects of taxation for growth for a state at the 90th percentile of corruption are much lower across the board. We make progress towards causality through Granger-style tests and by considering periphery counties where effective tax policy is largely driven by bordering states. Finally, we calibrate our model and find that the calibrated taxation rate of 37% is fairly close to the model׳s estimated welfare maximizing taxation rate of 42%. Reducing corruption provides the largest potential impact for welfare gain through its impact on the uses of tax revenues.

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  • Aghion, Philippe & Akcigit, Ufuk & Cagé, Julia & Kerr, William R., 2016. "Taxation, corruption, and growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 24-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:86:y:2016:i:c:p:24-51
    DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2016.01.012
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    1. repec:eur:ejesjr:178 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ejaz Ghani & William R. Kerr & Stephen O'Connell, 2014. "Spatial Determinants of Entrepreneurship in India," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(6), pages 1071-1089, June.
    3. Lisa CHAUVET & Marin FERRY, 2016. "Taxation, infrastructure, and firm performance in developing countries," Working Papers 3510, FERDI.
    4. Fernando Delbianco & Carlos Dabús & María angeles Caraballo pou, 2016. "Growth, Inequality and Corruption: Evidence from Developing Countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(3), pages 1811-1820.
    5. Ejaz Ghani & William R. Kerr & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2013. "Local industrial structures and female entrepreneurship in India," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 929-964, November.
    6. Ghani, Ejaz & Kerr, William R. & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2012. "What explains big gender disparities in India ? local industrial structures and female entrepreneurship," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6228, The World Bank.
    7. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "The Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization," PSE Working Papers halshs-00705354, HAL.
    8. Ghani, Ejaz & Kerr, William R. & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2012. "What makes cities more competitive ? spatial determinants of entrepreneurship in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6198, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous growth; Taxation; Public goods; Corruption; Entrepreneurship;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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