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Which Communities should be afraid of Mobility? The Effects of Agglomeration Economies on the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Local Taxes

  • Jordi Jofre-Monseny
  • Albert Solé-Ollé

This paper examines the effects of agglomeration economies (AE) on the sensitivity of firm location to tax differentials. An initial reading of the story suggests that, with AE, when a firm moves into a community attracted by a tax reduction, other firms may decide to move in as well. This suggests that AE increase the sensitivity of firm location to local taxes. However, a second version of the story reads that, if economic activities are highly concentrated in space, AE might offset any tax differential, hence suggesting a reduction in this sensitivity. This paper provides a theoretical model of intraregional firm location with Marshallian AE that is able to generate both hypotheses: AE increase (decrease) the effect of taxes when locations are (are not) of a similar size. We then use Spanish municipal data for the period 1995-2002 to test these hypotheses, analyzing the combined effect of local business taxes and Marshallian AE on the intraregional location of employment. In line with the theory, a municipality with stronger AE experiences lower (higher) tax effects if it is sufficiently dissimilar (similar) to its neighbors in terms of size.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2311.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2311
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  1. Fredrik Andersson & Rikard Forslid, 2000. "Tax Competition and Economic Geography," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1356, Econometric Society.
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  5. John Burbidge & Katherine Cuff & John Leach, 2005. "Tax Competition with Heterogeneous Firms," Working Papers 05001, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2005.
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  15. Buettner, Thiess, 2003. "Tax base effects and fiscal externalities of local capital taxation: evidence from a panel of German jurisdictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 110-128, July.
  16. Paulo Guimar�es & Octávio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2007. "Measuring The Localization Of Economic Activity: A Parametric Approach," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 753-774.
  17. Fredrik Carlsen & Bjørg Langset & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The relationship between firm mobility and tax level: Empirical evidence of fiscal competition between local governments," Discussion Papers 424, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  18. Jordi Jofre Monseny & Alberto Sole Olle, 2007. "Tax Differentials and Agglomeration Economies in Intraregional Firm Location," Working Papers in Economics 180, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  19. Austan Goolsbee & Edward L Maydew, 1998. "Coveting Thy Neighbor's Manuafacturing: The Dilemma of State Income Apportionment," NBER Working Papers 6614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Fernandez, Gonzalo E., 2005. "A note on tax competition in the presence of agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 837-847, November.
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