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The Role of the Corporate Income Tax as an Automatic Stabilizer

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  • Thiess Büttner
  • Clemens Fuest

Abstract

This paper analyses the effectiveness of the corporate income tax as an automatic stabilizer. It employs a unique firm-level dataset of German manufacturers combining financial statements with firm-specific information about credit market restrictions. The results show that approximately 20 per cent of all firms report both positive taxable income and capital market restrictions. Taking account of the income tax rates and the size differences of the firms, we find that demand stabilization through the corporate income tax amounts to about 8 per cent of an initial shock to gross revenues. This stabilization effect varies over the business cycle and tends to increase during cyclical downturns.

Suggested Citation

  • Thiess Büttner & Clemens Fuest, 2009. "The Role of the Corporate Income Tax as an Automatic Stabilizer," CESifo Working Paper Series 2798, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2798
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    2. Darrel Cohen & Glenn Follette, 2000. "The automatic fiscal stabilizers: quietly doing their thing," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Apr, pages 35-67.
    3. von Kalckreuth, Ulf, 2008. "Financing constraints, firm level adjustment of capital and aggregate implications," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2008,11, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R., 1995. "Fiscal flows in the United States and Canada: Lessons for monetary union in Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 253-274, February.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach, 2009. "Implementing the New Fiscal Policy Activism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 543-549, May.
    6. Alan J. Auerbach & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Significance of Federal Taxes as Automatic Stabilizers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 37-56, Summer.
    7. Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Jeffrey Sachs, 1991. "Fiscal Federalism and Optimum Currency Areas: Evidence for Europe From the United States," NBER Working Papers 3855, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ulf Von Kalckreuth, 2006. "Financial Constraints and Capacity Adjustment: Evidence from a Large Panel of Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(292), pages 691-724, November.
    9. Joseph A. Pechman, 1973. "Responsiveness of the Federal Individual Income Tax to Changes in Income," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(2), pages 385-428.
    10. Devereux, Michael P. & Fuest, Clemens, 2009. "Is the Corporation Tax an Effective Automatic Stabilizer?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(3), pages 429-437, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fidrmuc, Jarko & Hainz, Christa, 2013. "The effect of banking regulation on cross-border lending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1310-1322.
    2. Daniel Dreßler & Michael Overesch, 2013. "Investment impact of tax loss treatment—empirical insights from a panel of multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(3), pages 513-543, June.
    3. Abdelkrim Araar & Luis Huesca, 2014. "Comparison of the Tax System Progressivity Over Time: Theory and Application with Mexican Data," Cahiers de recherche 1419, CIRPEE.
    4. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    5. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2009. "Wie wirken die automatischen Stabilisatoren in der Wirtschaftskrise? Deutschland im Vergleich mit der EU und den USA," IZA Standpunkte 19, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Buettner Thiess & Hoenig Anja, 2016. "Determinants of Business Fixed Investment: Evidence from German Firm-Level Data," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(5), pages 533-556, October.
    7. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-9121(2011)0000032011 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Stevan Luković, 2014. "The Role Of The Automatic Stabilizers In Modern Economy," Ekonomika, Journal for Economic Theory and Practice and Social Issues 2014-01, „Ekonomika“ Society of Economists, Niš (Serbia).
    9. Funashima, Yoshito, 2015. "Automatic stabilizers in the Japanese tax system," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 86-93.
    10. Checherita-Westphal, Cristina & Attinasi, Maria Grazia & Rieth, Malte, 2011. "Labour tax progressivity and output volatility: evidence from OECD countries," Working Paper Series 1380, European Central Bank.
    11. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2011. "Automatic Stabilizers, Economic Crisis and Income Distribution in Europe," Research in Labor Economics,in: Who Loses in the Downturn? Economic Crisis, Employment and Income Distribution, volume 32, pages 227-255 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    12. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Automatic stabilization and discretionary fiscal policy in the financial crisis," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, December.
    13. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2010. "Wie wirken die automatischen Stabilisatoren in der Wirtschaftskrise? Deutschland im Vergleich zu anderen EU-Staaten und den USA," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(2), pages 132-145, May.
    14. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Abdelkrim Araar, 2016. "Comparison of fiscal system progressivity over time: theory and application in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 31(1), pages 3-45.
    15. Dolls, M. & Fuest, C. & Andreas Peichl, 2011. "GINI DP 23: Automatic Stabilizers, Economic Crisis and Income Distribution in Europe," GINI Discussion Papers 23, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    16. European Commission, 2010. "Tax Policy after the Crisis: Monitoring Tax Revenues and Tax Reforms in EU Member States 2010 Report," Taxation Papers 24, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate income tax; stabilization; capital market restrictions; loss offset; firm-level data;

    JEL classification:

    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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