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Effective labor taxation and the international location of headquarters

  • Peter Egger

    ()

  • Doina Radulescu

    ()

  • Nora Strecker

    ()

Profit taxes are widely acknowledged to influence the location of firms’ headquarters. This paper sheds light on the role of aspects of labor taxation for the international location of headquarters. While profit taxes can be avoided in various ways, it is much harder for firms to manipulate the firm-specific labor tax base so that labor taxes may be relatively important for firm location. We construct a unique data set of effective labor taxes in 120 countries and use data on the location of 35,206 firms to analyze the impact of labor income tax rates, the progressivity of the income tax schedule, and social security contributions on firms’ decisions where to locate their headquarters. The findings suggest that both a higher progressivity of the tax system and higher (employee- and employer-borne) social security contributions negatively influence a country’s attractiveness for headquarters location. Hence, a one percentage point increase in these payroll taxes, reduces the probability of a country to attract headquarters by 6.1 %. The results prove robust in various empirical model specifications and subsets of the data. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10797-013-9288-6
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Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 20 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 631-652

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:20:y:2013:i:4:p:631-652
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