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Domestic Taxes and International Trade; Some Evidence

  • Michael Keen
  • Murtaza H. Syed

The effects on trade performance of corporate taxes and the value-added tax (VAT) continue to excite controversy but have received little empirical attention. This paper uses panel data for OECD countries from 1967 to 2003 to examine the effects of these taxes on export performance, paying particular attention to the potentially complex dynamic effects to which theory points. It finds that increased reliance on VAT revenue tends to be associated with a sharp reduction in net exports, which quickly fades. This may reflect unrelated movements in consumption, and our preferred specifications point to no trade effects of the VAT in either the short or the long run. Our results also point, however, to powerful and complex effects from the corporate tax, the pattern of which is as theory would predict from a source-based tax of this kind. Increases in corporate taxation-whether measured by revenues or the statutory rate-are associated with sharp short-run increases in net exports (consistent with induced capital flows abroad); these are then subsequently and quickly reversed (consistent with increased income from investments abroad), leaving an increase in net exports that converges to zero.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/47.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/47
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  1. Andrew K. Rose, 2002. "Do WTO Members have More Liberal Trade Policy?," NBER Working Papers 9347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
  3. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
  4. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  5. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
  6. Ruud A. de Mooij & Sjef Ederveen, 2001. "Taxation and Foreign Direct Investment: A Synthesis of Empirical Research," CESifo Working Paper Series 588, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 2002. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3247, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Paul Krugman & Martin Feldstein, 1989. "International Trade Effects of Value Added Taxation," NBER Working Papers 3163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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