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Which communities should be afraid of mobility? The effects of agglomeration economies on the sensitivity of firm location to local taxes

  • Jordi Jofre-Monseny

    ()

    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

  • Albert Solé-Ollé

    ()

    (Universitat de Barcelona, IEB & CESifo)

This paper examines the effects of agglomeration economies (AE) on the sensitivity of firm location to tax differentials. An initial reading of the story suggests that, with AE, when a firm moves into a community attracted by a tax reduction, other firms may decide to move in as well. This suggests that AE increase the sensitivity of firm location to local taxes. However, a second version of the story reads that, if economic activities are highly concentrated in space, AE might offset any tax differential, hence suggesting a reduction in this sensitivity. This paper provides a theoretical model of intraregional firm location with Marshallian AE that is able to generate both hypotheses: AE increase (decrease) the effect of taxes when locations are (are not) of a similar size. We then use Spanish municipal data for the period 1995-2002 to test these hypotheses, analyzing the combined effect of local business taxes and Marshallian AE on the intraregional location of employment. In line with the theory, a municipality with stronger AE experiences lower (higher) tax effects if it is sufficiently dissimilar (similar) to its neighbors in terms of size.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2008/4.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2009/3/doc2008-4
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  1. Marius BRÜLHART & Mario JAMETTI & Kurt SCHMIDHEINY, 2007. "Do Agglomeration Economies Reduce the Sensitivity of Firm Location to Tax Differentials?," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 07.13, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. Sylvie Charlot & Sonia Paty, 2007. "Market access effect and local tax setting: evidence from French panel data," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(3), pages 247-263, May.
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  11. Ludema, Rodney D. & Wooton, Ian, 2000. "Economic geography and the fiscal effects of regional integration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 331-357, December.
  12. Fredrik Carlsen & Bjørg Langset & Jørn Rattsø, 2005. "The relationship between firm mobility and tax level: Empirical evidence of fiscal competition between local governments," Discussion Papers 424, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  13. Paulo Guimar�es & Octávio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2007. "Measuring The Localization Of Economic Activity: A Parametric Approach," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 753-774.
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  16. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel & Simpson, Helen, 2007. "Firm location decisions, regional grants and agglomeration externalities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 413-435, April.
  17. Fernandez, Gonzalo E., 2005. "A note on tax competition in the presence of agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 837-847, November.
  18. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
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  21. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, June.
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