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A Model of Tradeable Capital Tax Permits

  • Timothy P. Hubbard


    (Department of Economics, Colby College)

  • Justin Svec


    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Standard models of horizontal strategic capital tax competition predict that, in a Nash equilibrium, tax rates are inefficiently low due to externalities - capital infl ow to one state corresponds to capital out ow for another state. Researchers often suggest that the federal government impose Pigouvian taxes to correct for these effects and achieve efficiency. We propose an alternative incentive-based regulation: tradeable capital tax permits. Under this system, the federal government would require a state to hold a permit if it wanted to reduce its capital income tax rate from some pre-determined benchmark. These permits would be tradeable across states. We show that, if the federal government sets the correct number of total permits, then social efficiency is achieved. We discuss the advantages of this system relative to the canonical suggestion of Pigouvian taxes.

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Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1202.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economic Theory, forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1202
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  1. de Crombrugghe, Alain & Tulkens, Henry, 1990. "On Pareto improving commodity tax changes under fiscal competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 335-350, April.
  2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  3. Devereux, Michael P & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete Over Corporate Tax Rates?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 642, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Tom Tietenberg, 1995. "Tradeable permits for pollution control when emission location matters: What have we learned?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 95-113, March.
  5. WILDASIN, David, . "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," CORE Discussion Papers RP 804, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. DePeter James A. & Myers Gordon M., 1994. "Strategic Capital Tax Competition: A Pecuniary Externality and a Corrective Device," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 66-78, July.
  7. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-85, September.
  8. Carlsen, Fredrik & Langset, Bjorg & Rattso, Jorn, 2005. "The relationship between firm mobility and tax level: Empirical evidence of fiscal competition between local governments," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 273-288, September.
  9. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  10. Batina, Raymond G., 2009. "Local capital tax competition and coordinated tax reform in an overlapping generations economy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 472-478, July.
  11. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
  12. Davies, Ronald B., 2005. "State tax competition for foreign direct investment: a winnable war?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 498-512, December.
  13. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
  14. Wildasin, D.E., 1989. "Some Rudimentary Duopolity Theorem," Working Papers 9, John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy.
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