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Do taxes matter for long-run growth?: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture

  • Enrique G. Mendoza
  • Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti
  • Patrick Asea

Harberger's supemeutrality conjecture contends that, although in theory the mix of direct and indirect taxes affects investment and growth, in practice growth effects of taxation are negligible. This paper provides evidence in support of this view by testing the predictions of endogenous growth models driven by human capital accumulation. Theoretical analysis highlights implications of different taxes for growth and investment in these models. The empirical work is based on cross-country regressions and numerical simulations, using a new methodology for estimating aggregate effective tax rates. Results show significant investment effects from income and consumption taxes that are consistent with small growth effects. The results are robust to the introduction of other growth determinants.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 511.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:511
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  4. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
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  7. Enrique G. Mendoza & Linda L. Tesar, 1995. "Supply-Side Economics in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 5086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Sergio Rebelo, 1999. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2114, David K. Levine.
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  12. Razin, Assaf & Yuen, Chi-Wa, 1993. "Convergence in Growth Rates: The Role of Capital Mobility and International Taxation," CEPR Discussion Papers 760, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  17. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 1993. "Losers and Winners in Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. De Long, J Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1991. "Equipment Investment and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 445-502, May.
  19. Koester, Reinhard B & Kormendi, Roger C, 1989. "Taxation, Aggregate Activity and Economic Growth: Cross-Country Evidence on Some Supply-Side Hypotheses," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(3), pages 367-86, July.
  20. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
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  22. Michael B. Devereux & David R. F. Love, 1994. "The Effects of Factor Taxation in a Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 509-36, August.
  23. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  24. 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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