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The role of the corporate income tax as an automatic stabilizer

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  • Thiess Buettner

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  • Clemens Fuest

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Abstract

This paper analyses the effectiveness of the corporate income tax as an automatic stabilizer. It employs a unique firm-level dataset of German manufacturers combining financial statements with firm-specific information about credit market restrictions. The results show that approximately 20 per cent of all firms report both positive taxable income and capital market restrictions. Taking account of the income tax rates and the size differences of the firms, we find that demand stabilization through the corporate income tax amounts to about 8 per cent of an initial shock to gross revenues. This stabilization effect varies over the business cycle and tends to increase during cyclical downturns.
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Suggested Citation

  • Thiess Buettner & Clemens Fuest, 2010. "The role of the corporate income tax as an automatic stabilizer," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(6), pages 686-698, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:686-698
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-010-9155-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darrel Cohen & Glenn Follette, 2000. "The automatic fiscal stabilizers: quietly doing their thing," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 35-67.
    2. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    3. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R., 1995. "Fiscal flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for monetary union in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 253-274, February.
    4. Alan J. Auerbach, 2009. "Implementing the New Fiscal Policy Activism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 543-549, May.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 37-56, Summer.
    6. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Jeffrey Sachs, 1991. "Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe From the United States," NBER Working Papers 3855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Devereux, Michael P. & Fuest, Clemens, 2009. "Is the Corporation Tax an Effective Automatic Stabilizer?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 429-437, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Hainz, Christa, 2013. "The effect of banking regulation on cross-border lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1310-1322.
    2. Daniel Dreßler & Michael Overesch, 2013. "Investment impact of tax loss treatment—empirical insights from a panel of multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(3), pages 513-543, June.
    3. Rieth, Malte & Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Attinasi, Maria-Grazia, 2016. "Personal income tax progressivity and output volatility: Evidence from OECD countries," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 968-996.
    4. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    5. Buettner Thiess & Hoenig Anja, 2016. "Determinants of Business Fixed Investment: Evidence from German Firm-Level Data," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(5), pages 533-556, October.
    6. Funashima, Yoshito, 2015. "Automatic stabilizers in the Japanese tax system," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 86-93.
    7. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Rieth, Malte, 2011. "Labour tax progressivity and output volatility: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Series 1380, European Central Bank.
    8. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Abdelkrim Araar, 2016. "Comparison of fiscal system progressivity over time: theory and application in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 31(1), pages 3-45.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Corporate income tax; Stabilization; Capital market restrictions; Loss offset; Firm-level data; H25; H32; E63;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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