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The Economics of Location-Based Tax Incentives

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser, 2001. "The Economics of Location-Based Tax Incentives," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1932, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1932
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    File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2001/HIER1932.pdf
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    1. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Glaeser, Edward L & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1126-1152, December.
      • Edward L. Glaeser & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Growth in Cities," NBER Working Papers 3787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
    4. 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.
    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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    Cited by:

    1. Strauss-Kahn, Vanessa & Vives, Xavier, 2009. "Why and where do headquarters move?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 168-186, March.
    2. Patrick Kline & Enrico Moretti, 2014. "People, Places, and Public Policy: Some Simple Welfare Economics of Local Economic Development Programs," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 629-662, August.
    3. Evert Meijers & Martijn Burger & Mark Thissen & Thomas Graaff & Frank Oort, 2016. "Competitive network positions in trade and structural economic growth: A geographically weighted regression analysis for European regions," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 159-180, March.
    4. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2010. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Winners and Losers of Large Plant Openings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 536-598, June.
    5. Michael Greenstone & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Bidding for Industrial Plants: Does Winning a 'Million Dollar Plant' Increase Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 9844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Moretti, Enrico, 2011. "Local Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    7. Moretti, Enrico & Wilson, Daniel J., 2014. "State incentives for innovation, star scientists and jobs: Evidence from biotech," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 20-38.
    8. Nathan Jensen & Edmund Malesky & Matthew Walsh, 2015. "Competing for global capital or local voters? The politics of business location incentives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 331-356, September.
    9. repec:oup:jecgeo:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:163-186. is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kaitlyn R. Harger & Amanda Ross & Heather M. Stephens, 2015. "What Matters More for Economic Development, the Amount of Funding or the Number of Projects Funded? Evidence from the Community Development Financial Investment Fund," Working Papers 15-51, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    11. Luger, Michael I. & Bae, Suho, 2006. "Speaking Falsehoods to Power: States' Misguided Use of 'Cost-of-Doing-Business' Studies in Economic Development Policy," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 36(1), pages 15-43.
    12. Amanda Ross & Kaitlyn Wolf, 2014. "Do Market-Based Tax Incentives Attract New Businesses? Evidence from the New Markets Tax Credit," ERSA conference papers ersa14p653, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," NBER Working Papers 13833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:eee:pubeco:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:101-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Johannes Van Biesebroeck, 2010. "Bidding for Investment Projects: Smart Public Policy or Corporate Welfare?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 36(s1), pages 31-48, April.
    16. Kaitlyn Harger & Amanda Ross, 2014. "Do Capital Tax Incentives Attract New Businesses? Evidence across Industries from the New Markets Tax Credit," Working Papers 14-14, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

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