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Do Countries Compensate Firms for International Wage Differentials?

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  • Ferdinand Mittermaier
  • Johannes Rincke

Abstract

We address the role of labor cost differentials for national tax policies. Using a simple theoretical framework with two countries competing for a mobile firm, we show that in a bidding race for FDI, it is optimal for governments to compensate firms for international labor cost differentials. Using panel data for western Europe, we then put the model prediction to an empirical test. Exploiting exogenous variation in labor cost differentials induced by the breakdown of communism in eastern Europe, we find strong support for the model prediction that countries with relatively high labor costs tend to set lower tax rates in order to attract mobile capital. Our key result is that an increase in the unit labor cost differential by one standard deviation decreases the statutory tax rate by 7.3 to 7.5 percentage points.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferdinand Mittermaier & Johannes Rincke, 2010. "Do Countries Compensate Firms for International Wage Differentials?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3197, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3197
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    Cited by:

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    2. Nelly Exbrayat & Carl Gaigné & Stéphane Riou, 2012. "The effects of labour unions on international capital tax competition," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 45(4), pages 1480-1503, November.
    3. Mardan, Mohammed & Stimmelmayr, Michael, 2020. "Tax competition between developed, emerging, and developing countries – Same same but different?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    4. Nelly Exbrayat & Benny Geys, 2016. "Economic Integration, Corporate Tax Incidence and Fiscal Compensation," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(11), pages 1792-1811, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    foreign direct investment; corporate taxation; labor costs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

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