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The effects of agglomeration on tax competition: evidence from a two-regime spatial panel model on French data

Author

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  • Sandy Fréret

    (French Treasury)

  • Denis Maguain

    (French Treasury)

Abstract

This article studies how agglomeration economies affect tax competition between local jurisdictions. We develop a theoretical model with two main testable predictions: in a setting where agglomeration forces lessen the responsiveness of capital to tax, high-regime agglomeration jurisdictions should adopt a rent-taxing behavior, and they should react less to their neighbors’ tax policies. The panel dataset spans the period from 1995 to 2007 and focuses on the local business taxes set at the French mid-subnational jurisdiction level of départements. First, instrumental variables estimates indicate that attractive jurisdictions capture a significant part of firms’ agglomeration rent by levying higher tax rates. An increase by 1% of the localization economies indicator (a specialization index) leads to increasing the business tax rate by 0.43%. Second, local tax setting behaviors are characterized by a mimetic behavior, with best response functions that slope upwards. We propose a two-agglomeration-regime spatial lag model to estimate through ML the relationship between tax competition and attractiveness. Our main result shows that both are linked and tax mimicry is less pronounced if a jurisdiction is agglomerated. Specifically, in response to a decrease in the tax rate of neighboring local governments by 1%, local governments with strong agglomeration economies reduce their tax rate by 0.4% against 0.6% for local government characterized by a low-agglomeration regime. We show that the classical one-size-fits-all-case of a single regime of agglomeration suffers from a 40% downward bias for low-agglomeration jurisdictions. We draw the link to policy praxis by discussing the optimal design of equalization schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Sandy Fréret & Denis Maguain, 2017. "The effects of agglomeration on tax competition: evidence from a two-regime spatial panel model on French data," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(6), pages 1100-1140, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9429-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-016-9429-9
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    Cited by:

    1. Sonia Paty & Tidiane Ly, 2017. "Local taxation and tax base mobility: Evidence from a business tax reform in France," Post-Print halshs-01679043, HAL.
    2. Ly, Tidiane & Paty, Sonia, 2020. "Local taxation and tax base mobility: Evidence from France," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    3. Eichfelder, Sebastian & Kluska, Mike & Knaisch, Jonas & Selle, Juliane, 2021. "Senkung der Unternehmenssteuerlast versus Förderung von Investitionen: Was ist die bessere Strategie zur Förderung der Standortattraktivität Deutschlands?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 266, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    4. Tidiane Ly & Sonia Paty, 2018. "Local Taxation and Tax Base Mobility: Evidence from the French business tax reform," Working Papers halshs-01812611, HAL.
    5. Sebastian Langer, 2019. "Expenditure interactions between municipalities and the role of agglomeration forces: a spatial analysis for North Rhine-Westphalia," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 62(3), pages 497-527, June.
    6. Eichfelder, Sebastian & Kluska, Mike & Knaisch, Jonas & Selle, Juliane, 2021. "Senkung der Unternehmenssteuerlast versus Förderung von Investitionen: Was ist die bessere Strategie zur Förderung der Standortattraktivität Deutschlands?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 263, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax competition; New Economic Geography; Agglomeration regimes; Spatial panel econometrics; Instrumental variables;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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