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Corporate Tax Reform and Foreign Direct Investment in Germany – Evidence from Firm-Level Data

  • Johannes Becker
  • Clemens Fuest
  • Thomas Hemmelgarn

Does the reduction of the effective tax burden on corporations trigger foreign direct investment? We take the German tax reform of 2000 as a natural experiment in order to isolate the impact of corporate taxation on the investment of foreign-held affiliates in Germany. We do so by exploiting the very rich MiDi data base from the Deutsche Bundesbank. Although we deliberately choose an approach which is likely to underestimate the tax effects on investment we find significant evidence that the tax reduction had the intended effect of - ceteris paribus - fostering inward direct investment. We find an elasticity of inward foreign direct investment with respect to the effective marginal tax rate of -0.7. We repeat the analysis for different subgroups and find high degrees of heterogeneity. Our results do not allow to decide whether the model of discrete investment choices or the model of marginal adjustment of the capital stock performs better in explaining the investment data.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1722.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1722
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  1. Bruce A. Blonigen, 2005. "A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants," NBER Working Papers 11299, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Charles Christian & Joel Slemrod & Marsha Blumenthal, 2001. "Taxpayer response to an increased probability of audit: Evidence from a controlled experiment in minnesota," Natural Field Experiments 00332, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 1998. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 335-367, June.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  10. Claudia M. Buch & Jörn Kleinert & Alexander Lipponer & Farid Toubal, 2005. "Determinants and effects of foreign direct investment: evidence from German firm-level data," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(41), pages 52-110, 01.
  11. Christopher House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 12514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2005. "Optimal Tax Policy when Firms are Internationally Mobile," CESifo Working Paper Series 1592, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd & Mintz, Jack, 2005. "Capital mobility and tax competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 20329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2004. "A Backward Looking Measure of the Effective Marginal Tax Burden on Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 1342, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  16. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1995. "Have Tax Reforms Affected Investment?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 9, pages 131-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
  18. Thomas A. Gresik, 2001. "The Taxing Task of Taxing Transnationals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 800-838, September.
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