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The Economics of Location-Based Tax Incentives

  • Edward L. Glaeser
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    Many local governments offer rich tax deals to firms to get these firms to come to their cities. In this brief essay, I review the economics of location-based tax incentives. I first address the positive economics of these incentives and present five theories of why these tax incentives occur. I then consider the normative aspects of these incentives and discuss the conditions under which these theories lead to optimal locations of firms and to optimal bundles of public goods. In general, I argue that tax incentives will generally lead to more efficient locational decisions. There may be undesirable redistributional consequences of these incentives, but these are best handled by national redistribution policy.

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    Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1932.

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    Date of creation: 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1932
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    1. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    2. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521027922 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
    5. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
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