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The Effect of Tax Rates and Tax Bases on Corporate Tax Revenues: Estimates with New Measures of the Corporate Tax Base

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  • Laura Kawano

    (U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Tax Analysis)

  • Joel Slemrod

    (University of Michigan, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Several recent analyses have suggested that the revenue-maximizing corporate tax rate resides in the low-30’s. We challenge this result by re-examining this relationship using a new compilation of changes in corporate tax base definition for OECD countries between 1980 and 2004. By considering tax base changes in addition to tax rate changes, we can address the estimation bias that applies to tax rates absent their consideration. We find that the relationship between corporate tax rates and corporate tax revenues is tenuous. The large behavioral response to corporate tax rates implied in the literature does not obtain when accounting for persistent differences in tax policy and business environments across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Kawano & Joel Slemrod, 2012. "The Effect of Tax Rates and Tax Bases on Corporate Tax Revenues: Estimates with New Measures of the Corporate Tax Base," Working Papers 1219, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  • Handle: RePEc:btx:wpaper:1219
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    Cited by:

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    2. Langenmayr, Dominika & Haufler, Andreas & Bauer, Christian J., 2015. "Should tax policy favor high- or low-productivity firms?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 18-34.
    3. Devereux, Michael P. & Fuest, Clemens & Lockwood, Ben, 2015. "The taxation of foreign profits: A unified view," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 83-97.
    4. Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2015. "Do Higher Corporate Taxes Reduce Wages?," IZA Discussion Papers 9606, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Nathan M. Jensen & Adam H. Rosenzweig, 2015. "Can a Single Country Increase the Taxes of Multinational Corporations? Evidence from the Impact of the 1993 Corporate Tax Rate Increase on Fortune 500 Companies," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 12(4), pages 757-780, December.
    6. Bauer, Christian & Davies, Ronald B. & Haufler, Andreas, 2014. "Economic integration and the optimal corporate tax structure with heterogeneous firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 42-56.
    7. Nicholas Sly & Caroline Weber, 2013. "International Fiscal Policy Coordination and GDP Comovement," CESifo Working Paper Series 4358, CESifo.
    8. Ernesto Crivelli & Ruud De Mooij & Michael Keen, 2016. "Base Erosion, Profit Shifting and Developing Countries," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 72(3), pages 268-301, September.
    9. Elias Steinmüller & Georg U. Thunecke & Georg Wamser, 2019. "Corporate income taxes around the world: a survey on forward-looking tax measures and two applications," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(2), pages 418-456, April.
    10. Ruud A. de Mooij & Ikuo Saito, 2014. "Japan’s Corporate Income Tax: Facts, Issues and Reform Options," IMF Working Papers 2014/138, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Thushyanthan Baskaran, 2021. "The revenue and base effects of local tax hikes: evidence from a quasi-experiment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 28(6), pages 1472-1518, December.
    12. Best, Michael & Brockmeyer, Anne & Kleven, Henrik & Spinnewijn, Johannes & Waseem, Mazhar, 2013. "Production vs Revenue Efficiency With Limited Tax Capacity: Theory and Evidence From Pakistan," CEPR Discussion Papers 9717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Martina Helcmanovská & Alena Andrejovská, 2021. "Tax Rates and Tax Revenues in the Context of Tax Competitiveness," JRFM, MDPI, vol. 14(7), pages 1-13, June.
    14. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2018. "Tax reform and the political economy of the tax base," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 197-210.
    15. Bibek Adhikari & James Alm, 2016. "Evaluating the Economic Effects of Flat Tax Reforms Using Synthetic Control Methods," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 83(2), pages 437-463, October.
    16. Ilzetzki, Ethan, 2015. "A positive theory of tax reform," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86283, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Elek, Péter & Lőrincz, László, 2015. "Az effektív társasági adókulcs rugalmassága Magyarországon a 2009-2011 közötti adókulcscsökkentés alapján [The elasticity of the effective corporate tax rate in Hungary: evidence from the tax cut b," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(1), pages 27-47.
    18. Peter J. Stauvermann & Ronald R. Kumar, 2015. "The Dilemma of International Capital Tax Competition in the Presence of Public Capital and Endogenous Growth," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 16(2), pages 255-272, November.
    19. Nicholas Sly & Caroline Weber, 2015. "Global tax policy and the synchronization of business cycles," Research Working Paper RWP 15-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    20. Slavomira Tahlova & Anna Banociova, 2019. "Assessment of Corporate Income Tax Revenues in the Light of Their Current Determinants," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 15(1), pages 87-97.

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    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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