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

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  • Robert S. Chirinko
  • Daniel J. Wilson

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Chirinko & Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Can Lower Tax Rates be Bought? Business Rent-Seeking and Tax Competition among U.S. States," CESifo Working Paper Series 3121, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3121
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
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    5. Daniel J. Wilson, 2006. "The mystery of falling state corporate income taxes," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue dec8.
    6. Robert S. 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.
    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.
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    9. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
    10. 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, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming And Extreme Events: Rethinking The Timing And Intensity Of Environmental Policy," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 236, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    2. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9419-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael P. Devereux & Simon Loretz, 2013. "What Do We Know About Corporate Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, pages 745-774.
    4. Denvil Duncan & Ed Gerrish, 2014. "Personal income tax mimicry: evidence from international panel data," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(1), pages 119-152, February.
    5. Florence TOUYA, 2016. "EU tax competition and tax avoidance: A multiprincipal perspective," Working Papers 2015-2016_11, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Aug 2016.
    6. Esteller-Moré, Alejandro & Galmarini, Umberto & Rizzo, Leonzio, 2012. "Vertical tax competition and consumption externalities in a federation with lobbying," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 295-305.
    7. Michael Keen & Kai A. Konrad, 2012. "International Tax Competition and Coordination," Working Papers international_tax_competi, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    8. Florence TOUYA, 2016. "Horizontal and Vertical Tax Interactions in a Common Agency Game," Working Papers 2015-2016_12, CATT - UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, revised Aug 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business campaign contributions; state business tax policy; rent-seeking; capital mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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