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Can Lower Tax Rates be Bought? Business Rent-Seeking and Tax Competition among U.S. States

  • Robert S. Chirinko
  • Daniel J. Wilson

The standard model of strategic tax competition assumes that government policymakers are perfectly benevolent, acting solely to maximize the utility of the representative resident in their jurisdiction. We depart from this assumption by allowing for the possibility that policymakers also may be influenced by the rent-seeking (lobbying) behavior of businesses. This extension to the standard strategic tax competition model implies that business contributions may affect not only the levels of equilibrium tax rates but also the slope of the tax reaction function between jurisdictions, thus enhancing or retarding the mobility of capital across jurisdictions. The model is estimated with panel data for 48 U.S. states and unique data on business campaign contributions. Among other results, we document a significant direct effect of business contributions on tax policy; the economic value of a $1 business campaign contribution in terms of lower state corporate taxes is approximately $6.65.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-07/cesifo1_wp3121.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3121.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3121
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  1. Devereux, Michael P & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete Over Corporate Tax Rates?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 642, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Robert S. Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2007. "State Investment Tax Incentives: A Zero-Sum Game?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1895, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
  4. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bob Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2007. "Tax competition among U.S. states: racing to the bottom or riding on a seesaw?," Working Paper Series 2008-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1992. "Protection For Sale," NBER Working Papers 4149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Aggarwal Rajesh K. & Meschke Felix & Wang Tracy Yue, 2012. "Corporate Political Donations: Investment or Agency?," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-40, April.
  8. Daniel Wilson, 2006. "The mystery of falling state corporate income taxes," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue dec8.
  9. Michael J. Cooper & Huseyin Gulen & Alexei V. Ovtchinnikov, 2010. "Corporate Political Contributions and Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(2), pages 687-724, 04.
  10. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
  11. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
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