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Fiscalité des entreprises et décision d'investissement. Eléments de comparaison internationale France, RFA, Etats-Unis

Listed author(s):
  • Alain Gubian
  • François Guillaumat-Tailliet
  • Jacques Le Cacheux

[fre] Le poids excessif des charges qui pèsent sur les entreprises françaises est souvent cité comme une cause majeure de leurs médiocres performances en matière d'emploi, d'exportations et d'investissement. Parmi les charges jugées plus lourdes en France qu'à l'étranger, la fiscalité des entreprises figure en bonne place, d'autant plus que la progression des coûts salariaux a pratiquement cessé. Afin d'apprécier le bien-fondé de telles allégations, notre étude propose, pour la France, la RFA et les Etats-Unis, des évaluations qui, bien qu'imparfaites, constituent des éléments de jugement. La part dans le produit intérieur brut des différents impôts frappant les sociétés fournit certaines indications ; mais, la diversité et la complexité des régimes fiscaux interdisent d'additionner simplement ces pourcentages. Pour établir une mesure pertinente de l'incidence fiscale, il est nécessaire de préciser d'abord à quel aspect du comportement des entreprises on s'intéresse. Ayant choisi de privilégier l'incidence de la fiscalité sur les incitations à investir, nous présentons des évaluations du coût d'usage réel du capital et du coût relatif capital-travail — déterminants essentiels de la profitabilité du capital et donc des décisions d'investissement — qui permettent de mesurer l'incidence des principaux aspects de la fiscalité directe des entreprises dans les trois pays. L'incidence fiscale est synthétisée par un coefficient qui s'applique à des évolutions des coûts d'ampleur considérable : hors fiscalité, le coût relatif capital-travail, qui avait décru jusqu'au début des années soixante-dix dans les trois pays, a partout tendance à croître sensiblement en fin de période. L'augmentation du coût d'usage due à la fiscalité directe est variable selon les années et les pays. En moyenne plus forte dans les deux pays européens — un peu plus en RFA qu'en France — qu'aux Etats-Unis, l'incidence fiscale est très influencée par l'inflation : dans les années 1980-1983 en France, 1972- 1974 en RFA, 1974-1975 et 1979-1981 aux Etats-Unis, celle-ci a contribué sensiblement à alourdir le poids de la fiscalité. Les mesures fiscales spécifiquement destinées à encourager l'investissement ont, quant à elles, des effets différenciés sur le coût d'usage du capital : relativement peu affecté, en France, par une réduction du taux d'imposition des bénéfices ou une modification limitée du régime d'amortissement fiscal, ce coût est au contraire fortement abaissé par les crédits d'impôts. [eng] Excessive production costs for French firms are often seen as a prominent cause of their poor performances in terms of employment, exports and investment. Business taxes higher in France than abroad are currently presented as a major villain, especially so since labor costs growth has been practically halted. In order to appreciate such assertions, this study offers, for France, West-Germany and United States, a measure of fiscal costs which, although imperfect, should inform any judgement. The shares in GDP of the various taxes on business firms are a first indication ; but, due the diversity and complexity of fiscal laws, these shares cannot be straightforwardly added. To get a measure of fiscal incidence, it is necessary first to specify which aspects of firms behavior are to be the focus of the study. We have chosen to deal mainly with investment incentives, and to present estimates of the real user's cost of capital and of the cost of capital relative to labor — two determinants of profitability and thereby of investment decisions. These estimates allow us to measure the incidence of the major aspects of direct taxation of corporate income in the three countries studied. Fiscal incidence is represented by a coefficient multiplying the user's cost of capital. Fluctuations in the pre-tax costs have been of substancial magnitude : Thus, the cost of capital relative to labor has tended to increase markedly everywhere in the last few years, following a prolonged downward trend up to the early seventies. The weight of direct taxes in total costs has varied enormously from year to year and from country to country. On average, fiscal incidence is found to be higher in Europe — slightly more in West Germany than in France — than in the United States. Inflation is also shown to affect incidence : It has considerably increased it in 1980-1983 in France, in 1972-1974 in West- Germany, in 1974-1975 and again in 1979-1981 in the United States. Finally, specific investment incentives have had quite different effects on the post- tax user's cost of capital : In France, this cost is decreased relatively less by a reduction in the rate of profit taxation or by moderately favorable fiscal depreciation allowances than by tax credits for investment.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.3406/ofce.1986.1067
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File URL: http://www.persee.fr/doc/ofce_0751-6614_1986_num_16_1_1067
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Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Observations et diagnostics économiques : revue de l'OFCE.

Volume (Year): 16 (1986)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 181-216

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Handle: RePEc:prs:rvofce:ofce_0751-6614_1986_num_16_1_1067
Note: DOI:10.3406/ofce.1986.1067
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.persee.fr/collection/ofce

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  1. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and Investment: Some Econometric Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 243-286 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Auerbach, Alan J, 1983. "Taxation, Corporate Financial Policy and the Cost of Capital," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 905-940, September.
  3. Henri Sterdyniak & Pierre Villa, 1984. "Faut-il substituer de la TVA aux cotisations sociales des employeurs ?," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 6(1), pages 93-101.
  4. Auerbach, Alan J, 1981. "Inflation and the Tax Treatment of Firm Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 419-423, May.
  5. Edmond Malinvaud, 1971. "Peut-on mesurer l'évolution du coût d'usage du capital productif ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 22(1), pages 5-20.
  6. Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Taxation and the Size and Composition of the Capital Stock: An Asset Price Approach," NBER Working Papers 1709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Boadway, R. W. & Bruce, N., 1979. "Depreciation and interest deductions and the effect of the corporation income tax on investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 93-105, February.
  8. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  9. Abel, Andrew B & Blanchard, Olivier J, 1986. "The Present Value of Profits and Cyclical Movements in Investment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 249-273, March.
  10. Patrick Artus & Pierre-Alain Muet, 1984. "Un panorama des développements récents de l'économétrie de l'investissement," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 35(5), pages 791-830.
  11. Henri Sterdyniak & Sanvi Avouyi-Dovi, 1986. "Une série de coût d'usage du capital," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 15(1), pages 217-226.
  12. Jean-Yves Collet & Henri Delestré & Pierre Teillet, 1980. "Travail et capital dans les comptes nationaux," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 127(1), pages 7-19.
  13. Patrice Mantz & Agnès Ramond & Max Tabouillot & Michel Ungemuth, 1983. "Le poids des prélèvements obligatoires : portée et limites de la mesure," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 157(1), pages 47-60.
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