IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article

How low business tax rates attract MNE activity: Municipality-level evidence from Germany

  • Becker, Sascha O.
  • Egger, Peter H.
  • Merlo, Valeria

Most existing empirical evidences on the impact of profit taxation on multinational firm activity are based on cross-country data. One major drawback of such data is that countries differ not only with regard to taxes but also with other dimensions which might be hard to capture by means of observable characteristics. We compile a database of more than 11,000 municipalities in Germany to analyze the sensitivity of location decisions of foreign MNEs in Germany with respect to business tax rates which are levied directly by the municipalities. We find that higher business tax rates have a negative effect on three alternative measures of MNE activity, after controlling for other determinants of firm location decisions: the number of foreign MNEs, MNE employment, and MNE fixed assets. Our results suggest that tax competition among regional entities for foreign investors is a game of a few. In cross-section instrumental-variable regressions, a one-percent reduction of the municipal business tax rate (equivalent to a decline by about 0.14 percentage points) leads to an increase in the number of legally independent foreign-owned firms by about 0.45. The average municipality would have to reduce its business tax rate by about 2.2 percentage points (or 15%) from its average level to attract one foreign MNE. Hence, municipalities need to be attractive in other dimensions to be able to use tax instruments to attract foreign firms at the margin.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004727271200045X
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 9-10 ()
Pages: 698-711

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:698-711
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  2. N/A, 2004. "The World Economy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 187(1), pages 8-35, January.
  3. Rodney D. Ludema & Ian Wooton, 1998. "Economic Geography and the Fiscal Effects of Regional Integration," International Trade 9801001, EconWPA.
  4. Michael P. Devereux & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Taxing Multinationals," NBER Working Papers 7920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Huizinga, H.P. & Nielsen, S.B., 1995. "Capital income and profits taxation with foreign ownership of firms," Discussion Paper 1995-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Ruud A. de Mooij & Sjef Ederveen, 2006. "What a difference does it make? Understanding the empirical literature on taxation and international capital flows," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 261, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  7. de Mooij, Ruud A & Ederveen, Sjef, 2003. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 10(6), pages 673-93, November.
  8. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies & Keith Head, 2003. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 980-994, June.
  9. Brülhart, Marius & Jametti, Mario & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2007. "Do Agglomeration Economies Reduce the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Tax Differentials?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6606, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Markusen, James R & Maskus, Keith E, 2002. "Discriminating among Alternative Theories of the Multinational Enterprise," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 694-707, November.
  11. Bucovetsky, Sam & Haufler, Andreas, 2005. "Tax competition when firms choose their organizational form: Should tax loopholes for multinationals be closed?," Discussion Papers in Economics 729, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. David L. Carr & James R. Markusen & Keith E. Maskus, 2001. "Estimating the Knowledge-Capital Model of the Multinational Enterprise," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 693-708, June.
  13. Markusen, James R., 2002. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MPRA Paper 8380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 1998. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 335-367, June.
  15. Borck, Rainald & Pfluger, Michael, 2006. "Agglomeration and tax competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 647-668, April.
  16. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 1991. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Ruud A. de Mooij & Sjef Ederveen, 2008. "Corporate tax elasticities: a reader's guide to empirical findings," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 680-697, winter.
  18. Michael Overesch & Georg Wamser, 2009. "Who Cares About Corporate Taxation? Asymmetric Tax Effects on Outbound FDI," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(12), pages 1657-1684, December.
  19. Ronald B. Davies, 2003. "The OECD Model Tax Treaty: Tax Competition And Two-Way Capital Flows," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 725-753, 05.
  20. Harry Huizinga & Gaëtan Nicodème, 2003. "Foreign ownership and corporate income taxation : an empirical evaluation," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 185, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  21. Richard E. Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 2002. "Agglomeration, Integration and Tax Harmonization," NBER Working Papers 9290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Joel Slemrod, 1989. "Tax Effects on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Evidence from a Cross-Country Comparison," NBER Working Papers 3042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1999. "A Generalized Moments Estimator for the Autoregressive Parameter in a Spatial Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(2), pages 509-33, May.
  24. Egger, Peter & Fahn, Matthias & Merlo, Valeria & Wamser, Georg, 2011. "On the Genesis of Multinational Foreign Affiliate Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 8536, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  26. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "Market Potential and the Location of Japanese Investment in the European Union," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 959-972, November.
  27. Horst Raff, 2002. "Preferential Trade Agreements and Tax Competition for Foreign Direct Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 763, CESifo Group Munich.
  28. List, John A., 2001. "US county-level determinants of inbound FDI: evidence from a two-step modified count data model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 953-973, May.
  29. Bruce A. Blonigen & Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "The Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties on U.S. FDI Activity," NBER Working Papers 7929, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Semykina, Anastasia & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2010. "Estimating panel data models in the presence of endogeneity and selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(2), pages 375-380, August.
  31. Janeba, Eckhard, 1992. "Corporate income tax competition, double taxation treaties, and foreign direct investment," Discussion Papers, Series II 194, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  32. Papke, Leslie E., 1991. "Interstate business tax differentials and new firm location : Evidence from panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 47-68, June.
  33. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
  34. Peter Egger & Simon Loretz & Michael Pfaffermayr & Hannes Winner, 2008. "Bilateral Effective Tax Rates and Foreign Direct Investment," Working Papers 0802, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  35. Wilson, John Douglas, 1987. "Trade, Capital Mobility, and Tax Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 835-56, August.
  36. Ronald B. Davies, 2000. "State Tax Competition for Foreign Direct Investment: A Winnable War?," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2000-4, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 01 Jul 2002.
  37. Haufler, Andreas & Wooton, Ian, 1999. "Country size and tax competition for foreign direct investment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20408, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  38. N/A, 2004. "The World Economy," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 189(1), pages 8-36, July.
  39. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1995. "Selection corrections for panel data models under conditional mean independence assumptions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 115-132, July.
  40. Mutti, John & Grubert, Harry, 2004. "Empirical asymmetries in foreign direct investment and taxation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 337-358, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:9:p:698-711. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.