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Bidding for Firms with Unknown Characteristics

  • Johannes Becker
  • Andrea Schneider

When a region successfully attracts a large firm by offering tax concessions, outright subsidies etc., the firm often commits itself to performance targets in terms of investment or employment. This paper interprets these contractually fixed targets as a consequence of incomplete information. It analyzes a model of two regions which compete for a large firm assuming that the firm’s characteristics are ex-ante unknown. We consider direct mechanisms that induce truthful reporting of the firm’s type as well as simpler bidding strategies. We find that, first, performance targets are an equilibrium outcome if information is incomplete. Second, these performance targets often induce employment distortions (overemployment in the most plausible case). Third, when the competing regions differ, the winning region may gain from the fact that information is incomplete, i.e. its payoff is greater than it would be under complete information. Finally, when the governments’ sets of instruments are restricted to lump-sum payments, simple tax rebates and wage subsidies, incomplete information has no efficiency cost. This implies that restricting both regions’ sets of policy instruments may improve efficiency.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4806.

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Date of creation: 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4806
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  1. Ian King & R. Preston McAfee & Linda Welling, 1993. "Industrial Blackmail: Dynamic Tax Competition and Public Investment," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(3), pages 590-608, August.
  2. Ronald B. Davies & Carsten Eckel, 2010. "Tax Competition for Heterogeneous Firms with Endogenous Entry," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 77-102, February.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
  4. Olsen, Trond E. & Osmundsen, Petter, 2003. "Spillovers and international competition for investments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 211-238, January.
  5. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2009. "EU Regional Policy and Tax Competition," Working Papers 0902, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  6. repec:oup:restud:v:53:y:1986:i:1:p:27-41 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Baldwin, Richard & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2009. "Tax reform, delocation and heterogeneous firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7340, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Osmundsen, P. & Hagen, K. P. & Schjelderup, G., 1998. "Internationally mobile firms and tax policy1," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 97-113, June.
  10. Bond, Eric W & Samuelson, Larry, 1986. "Tax Holidays as Signals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 820-26, September.
  11. Feld, Lars P. & Heckemeyer, Jost Henrich, 2008. "FDI and Taxation: A Meta-Study," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-128, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  12. Scoones, David & Wen, Jean-Francois, 2001. " Common and Private Values of the Firm in Tax Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 3(4), pages 373-89.
  13. Trond Olsen & Petter Osmundsen, 2000. "Strategic Tax Competition; Implications of National Ownership," CESifo Working Paper Series 281, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Haufler, Andreas & Mittermaier, Ferdinand, 2011. "Unionisation Triggers Tax Incentives to Attract Foreign Direct Investment," Munich Reprints in Economics 20404, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Wilson, Charles, 1977. "A model of insurance markets with incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 167-207, December.
  16. David Martimort & Lars Stole, 2001. "The Revelation and Delegation Principles in Common Agency Games," CESifo Working Paper Series 575, CESifo Group Munich.
  17. Bierbrauer, Felix & Brett, Craig & Weymark, John A., 2013. "Strategic nonlinear income tax competition with perfect labor mobility," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 292-311.
  18. Haaparanta, Pertti, 1996. "Competition for foreign direct investments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 141-153, December.
  19. Davin Chor, 2007. "Subsides for FDI : Implications from a Model with Heterogeneous Firms," Finance Working Papers 22069, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  20. repec:oup:restud:v:53:y:1986:i:1:p:1-26 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. repec:oup:qjecon:v:90:y:1976:i:4:p:630-49 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Andreas Haufler & Ian Wooton, . "Country Size and Tax Competition for Foreign Direct Investment," Working Papers 9702, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  23. Biglaiser Gary & Mezzetti Claudio, 1993. "Principals Competing for an Agent in the Presence of Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 302-330, December.
  24. Taiji Furusawa & Kazumi Hori & Ian Wooton, 2010. "A Race beyond the Bottom: The Nature of Bidding for a Firm," CESifo Working Paper Series 3049, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. Black, Dan A & Hoyt, William H, 1989. "Bidding for Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1249-56, December.
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