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Business Tax Lobbying




This paper investigates the effects of business tax lobbying in the presence of investments that are sunk or costly to adjust in the short run. We show that industries which rely more heavily on sunk capital are generally more successful in obtaining tax breaks through lobbying; this reverses the usual logic of the capital levy problem. Nevertheless, these industries invest less in long-run equilibrium than more flexible ones. We then consider the effects of relaxing legal restrictions on corporate lobbying. When politicians give more weight to lobbyists' preferences, taxes fall on average and investment rises. But investment is misallocated among industries, so that welfare may fall. Thus restrictions on business lobbyists may be desirable. Dans ce texte, nous étudions le lobbying des sociétés visant à réduire leurs impôts lorsque le capital qu'elles utilisent est irrécupérable ou coûteux à ajuster à court terme. Il est démontré que grâce au lobbying, les industries utilisant un capital relativement coûteux à ajuster obtiennent les baisses d'impôt les plus substantielles. Néanmoins, ces industries investissent moins à long terme que celles utilisant un capital plus flexible. Nous étudions également l'effet d'une libéralisation des règles encadrant le lobbying des sociétés. Lorsque les politiciens attachent plus d'importance aux préférences des lobbies, le niveau moyen de taxation diminue et l'investissement augmente. Le bien-être peut cependant diminuer à cause de la mauvaise répartition de l'investissement entre les industries. Un certain encadrement du lobbying des sociétés peut donc être désirable.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Marceau & Michael Smart, 2000. "Business Tax Lobbying," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 102, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:102

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
    2. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, October.
    3. Laussel, Didier & Le Breton, Michel, 2001. "Conflict and Cooperation: The Structure of Equilibrium Payoffs in Common Agency," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 93-128, September.
    4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    5. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    6. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-769, August.
    7. Eichengreen, Barry, 1989. "The Capital Levy in Theory and Practice," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt11j4756b, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    8. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2001. "Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 67-82.
    9. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
    10. Fischer, Stanley, 1980. "Dynamic inconsistency, cooperation and the benevolent dissembling government," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 93-107, May.
    11. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-677, September.
    12. Avinash Dixit, 1996. "Special-Interest Lobbying and Endogenous Commodity Taxation," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 375-388, Fall.
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    Cited by:

    1. Le Breton, Michel & Salanie, Francois, 2003. "Lobbying under political uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2589-2610, December.
    2. Nicolas Marceau & Michael Smart, 2003. "Corporate Lobbying and Commitment Failure in Capital Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 241-251, March.

    More about this item


    Lobbying; Business taxation; Investment;

    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

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