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The influence of taxes on migration: evidence from Switzerland


  • Thomas Liebig
  • Alfonso Sousa-Poza


Empirical studies on the impact of taxation on migration have been limited by a lack of comparable data in an international context and a lack of variation in tax burdens within countries. A notable exception to the latter is Switzerland. Prior empirical studies on tax competition in Switzerland have had to rely on aggregated data. In general, these studies have been supportive of the notion of tax competition, i.e., high earners tend to relocate to low-tax regions. The authors use an alternative panel approach based on micro-data from the first three waves of the newly established Swiss Household Panel. Despite active community tax policies aimed at attracting new residents and a significant increase in tax-burden dispersion among communities in the past decade, no tax-induced migration is observed. Migration decisions are found to be strongly influenced by accommodation-related factors that point to important housing-market effects. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Liebig & Alfonso Sousa-Poza, 2006. "The influence of taxes on migration: evidence from Switzerland," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 235-252, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:30:y:2006:i:2:p:235-252

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fedotenkov, Igor, 2015. "International Trade and Migration: Why Do Migrants Choose Small Countries?," MPRA Paper 66035, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Lars P. Feld & Emmanuelle Reulier, 2009. "Strategic Tax Competition in Switzerland: Evidence from a Panel of the Swiss Cantons," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10, pages 91-114, February.
    3. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9435-y is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Sousa-Poza, Andres A., 2007. "The effect of job satisfaction on labor turnover by gender: An analysis for Switzerland," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 895-913, December.
    5. Sigrid Roehrs & David Stadelmann, 2010. "Mobility and local income redistribution," Working Papers 2010/4, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Bernd Raffelhüeschen & Christian D. Hagist, 2009. "How regional differences in taxes and public goods distort life cycle location choices," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 189(2), pages 47-79, June.
    7. Slotwinski, Michaela & Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2014. "Behavioral Responses to Local Tax Rates: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Foreigners Tax Scheme in Switzerland," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100292, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Bütler, Monika & Ramsden, Alma, 2017. "How taxes impact the choice between an annuity and the lump sum at retirement," Economics Working Paper Series 1701, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    9. Feld Lars P. & Baskaran Thushyanthan, 2010. "Federalism, Budget Deficits and Public Debt: On the Reform of Germany's Fiscal Constitution," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 365-393, December.
    10. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_119 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Tino Sanandaji, 2014. "The international mobility of billionaires," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 329-338, February.
    12. Bütler, Monika & Ramsden, Alma, 2016. "Pricing annuities: The role of taxation in retirement decisions," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145525, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Jana Tepperová & Stanislav Klazar, 2012. "Vliv sociálních systémů a jejich koordinace na ekonomickou migraci
      [The Impact of Social Systems and their Coordination on Economic Migration]
      ," Politická ekonomie, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(4), pages 505-522.
    14. Stadelmann, David, 2010. "Which factors capitalize into house prices? A Bayesian averaging approach," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 180-204, September.
    15. Mario Morger, 2013. "What Do Immigrants Value Most About Switzerland? Evidence of the Relative Importance of Income Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 4134, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Nadiya Ukrayinchuk & Hubert Jayet, 2011. "Immigrant location and network effects: the Helvetic case," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 313-333, June.
    17. Helmut Seitz, 2008. "Minimum Standards, Fixed Costs and Taxing Autonomy of Subnational Governments," CESifo Working Paper Series 2341, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Zaiceva, A. & Zimmermann, K.F., 2016. "Migration and the Demographic Shift," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, Elsevier.
    19. Aaron Jackson & David Ortmeyer & Michael Quinn, 2013. "Are immigrants really attracted to the welfare state? Evidence from OECD countries," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 491-519, December.
    20. Sigrid Röhrs & David Stadelmann, 2014. "Homeownership, Mobility, And Local Income Redistribution," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(4), pages 569-605, August.

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