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Tax Burden and Migration: A Political Economy Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Razin, Assaf
  • Sadka, Efraim
  • Swagel, Phillip

Abstract

The extent of taxation and redistribution policy is generally determined as a political-economy equilibrium by a balance between those who gain from higher taxes/transfers and those who lose. In a stylized model of migration and human capital formation we show — somewhat against the conventional wisdom — that low-skill immigration may lead to a lower tax burden and less redistribution than would be the case with no immigration, even though migrants (naturally) join the pro-tax/transfer coalition. Data on eleven European countries over the period 1974 to 1992 are consistent with the implications of the theory: A higher share of immigrants in the population leads to a lower tax rate on labor income, even after controlling for the generosity and size of the welfare state, demographics, and the international exposure of the economy. As predicted by the theory, it is the increased share of low education immigrants that leads to the smaller tax burden.

Suggested Citation

  • Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration: A Political Economy Theory and Evidence," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275635, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:isfiwp:275635
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
    2. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & von Weizsacker, Robert K., 1993. "Comprehensive income taxation, investments in human and physical capital, and productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 397-406, March.
    3. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 2002. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 900-918, August.
    4. Efraim Sadka & Assaf Razin, 1998. "Migration and Pension," IMF Working Papers 98/165, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2000. "Interactions between International Migration and the Welfare State," CESifo Working Paper Series 337, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. David E. Wildasin, 1994. "Income Redistribution and Migration," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 637-656, August.
    7. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1995. "Resisting Migration: Wage Rigidity and Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 312-316, May.
    8. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    9. Fabio Canova & Morten Ravn, 2000. "The Macroeconomic Effects of German Unification: Real Adjustments and the Welfare State," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(3), pages 423-460, July.
    10. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "Unemployment, wage rigidity, and the returns to education," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 535-543, April.
    11. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    12. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1998. "Social insurance, majority voting and labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 397-420, June.
    13. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
    14. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Immigration and Welfare, 1970-1990," NBER Working Papers 4872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1999. "Migration and pension with international capital mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-150, October.
    16. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1995. "Tackling the European Migration Problems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
    17. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    18. Marc Nerlove & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Robert K. von Weizsacker, 1990. "Tax Policy, Investments in Human and Physical Capital, and Productivity," NBER Working Papers 3531, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial Economics; International Relations/Trade; Political Economy;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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