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FDI and Taxation: A Meta-Study

  • Lars P. Feld
  • Jost Henrich Heckemeyer

Despite the continuing political interest in the usefulness of tax competition and tax coordination as well as the wealth of theoretical analyses, it still remains open whether or when tax competition is harmful. Moreover, the influence of tax differentials on multinationals’ decisions is still insufficiently analyzed. Thus, economists have increasingly resorted to empirical analysis in order to gain insights on the elasticity of FDI with respect to company taxation. As a result, the empirical literature on taxation and international capital flows has grown to a similar abundance during the last 25 years as the respective theoretical literature. Its heterogeneity leads to a rising need for concise reviews on the existing empirical evidence. In this paper we extend former meta-analyses on FDI and taxation in three ways. First, we add the most recent publications unconsidered in meta-analyses up-to-date. Second, we apply a different methodology by using a broad set of meta-regression estimators and explicitly discuss which one is most suitable for application to our meta-data. Third, we address some important issues in research on FDI and taxation to the clarification of which meta-analysis can make valuable contributions. These issues are mainly: The influence of variables which might moderate effects of tax differentials (e.g. public spending), the implications of using aggregate FDI data as opposed to firm-level information on measured tax effects, the implications of bilateral effective tax rates, and the possible presence of publication bias in primary research.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2540.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2540
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