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Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research

  • Ruud A. de Mooij
  • Sjef Ederveen

This paper reviews the empirical literature on the impact of company taxes on the allocation of foreign direct investment. We make the outcomes of 25 empirical studies comparable by computing the tax rate elasticity under a uniform definition. The mean value of the tax rate elasticity in the literature is around -3.3, i.e. a 1%-point reduction in the host-country tax rate raises foreign direct investment in that country by 3.3%. There exists substantial variation across studies, however. By performing a meta analysis, the paper aims to explain this variation by the differences in characteristics of the underlying studies. Systematic differences between studies are found with respect to the type of foreign capital data used, and the type of tax rates adopted. We find no systematic differences in the responsiveness of investors from tax credit countries and tax exemption countries.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 588.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_588
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  1. Deborah L. Swenson, 2000. "Transaction Type and the Effect of Taxes on the Distribution of Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 89-112 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," NBER Working Papers 6030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 1991. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Amina Lahrèche-Revil & Lionel Fontagné, 2003. "Tax Competition and Foreign Direct Investment," Working Papers 2003-17, CEPII research center.
  5. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert & T. Scott Newlon, 2000. "Has U.S. Investment Abroad Become More Sensitive to Tax Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 9-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Murthy, N.R. Vasudeva, 1989. "The Effects of Taxes and Rates of Return on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States: Some Econometric Comments," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(2), pages 205-07, June.
  7. Auerbach, Alan J & Hines, James R, Jr, 1988. "Investment Tax Incentives and Frequent Tax Reforms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 211-16, May.
  8. Scholes, Myron S & Wolfson, Mark A, 1990. "The Effects of Changes in Tax Laws on Corporate Reorganization Activity," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages S141-64, January.
  9. Michael Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1996. "Taxes and the location of production: evidence from a panel of US multinationals," IFS Working Papers W96/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Steven Cassou, 1997. "The link between tax rates and foreign direct investment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(10), pages 1295-1301.
  11. Devereux, Michael P. & Pearson, Mark, 1995. "European tax harmonisation and production efficiency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1657-1681, December.
  12. Slemrod, J., 1989. "Tax Effects Of Foreign Direct Investment In The U.S.: Evidence From A Cross-Country Comparison," Working Papers 254, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  13. Leslie E. Papke, 1989. "Interstate Business Tax Differentials and New Firm Location: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
  15. Hartman, David G., 1985. "Tax policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-121, February.
  16. Michael J. Boskin & William G. Gale, 1987. "New Results on the Effects of Tax Policy on the International Location of Investment," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 201-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Michael Devereux & Harold Freeman, 1995. "The impact of tax on foreign direct investment: Empirical evidence and the implications for tax integration schemes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 85-106, February.
  18. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  19. Joosung Jun, 1994. "How taxation affects foreign direct investment (country - specific evidence)," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1307, The World Bank.
  20. Joeri Gorter & A. Parikh, 2000. "How mobile is capital within the European Union?," CPB Research Memorandum 172, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  21. Swenson, Deborah L., 1994. "The impact of U.S. tax reform on foreign direct investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 243-266, June.
  22. Young, Kan H., 1988. "The Effects of Taxes and Rates of Return on Foreign Direct Investment in the United States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(1), pages 109-21, March.
  23. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1998. "The Taxation of Discrete Investment Choices," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/08, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  24. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
  25. Joeri Gorter & Ruud de Mooij, 2001. "Capital income taxation in Europe; trends and trade-offs," CPB Special Publication 30, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
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