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Is Partial Tax Harmonization Desirable?

  • Conconi, Paola
  • Perroni, Carlo
  • Riezman, Raymond

We consider a setting in which capital taxation is characterized by two distortions working in opposite directions. On one hand, governments engage in tax competition and are tempted to lower capital tax rates. On the other hand, they are unable to commit to future policies and, once capital has been installed, have incentives to increase taxes. In this setting, there exists a tax that optimally trades off the two distortions. We compare three possible tax harmonization scenarios: no tax harmonization (all countries set taxes unilaterally), global tax harmonization (all countries coordinate their capital taxes), and partial tax harmonization (only a subset of all countries coordinate capital taxes). We show that, if capital is sufficiently mobile, partial tax harmonization benefits all countries compared to both global and no harmonization. Our analysis provides a rationale for the proposed creation of an Enhanced Cooperation Agreement on capital taxes within the European Union.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5761.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5761
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  1. Peter Birch Sørensen, 2000. "The case for international tax co-ordination reconsidered," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(31), pages 429-472, October.
  2. Konrad, Kai A. & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 1999. "Fortress Building in Global Tax Competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 156-167, July.
  3. Benhabib, Jess & Rustichini, Aldo, 1997. "Optimal Taxes without Commitment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 231-259, December.
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  10. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo, 2009. "Do credible domestic institutions promote credible international agreements?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 160-170, September.
  11. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1991. "The Politics of 1992: Fiscal Policy and European Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 501, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Paul Krugman, 1991. "The move toward free trade zones," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Nov, pages 5-25.
  13. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
  14. V.V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Edward C. Prescott, 1988. "Time consistency and policy," Staff Report 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  15. Bacchetta, P. & Paz Espinosa, M., 1992. "Information Sharing and Tax Competition Among Governments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 173.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  16. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
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  21. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1987. "Pareto Efficient and Optimal Taxation and the New New Welfare Economics," NBER Working Papers 2189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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