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A Partial Race to the Bottom; Corporate Tax Developments in Emerging and Developing Economies

  • Junhyung Park
  • Sukhmani Bedi
  • S. M. Ali Abbas
  • Alexander Klemm

This paper assembles a new dataset on corporate income tax regimes in 50 emerging and developing economies over 1996-2007 and analyzes their impact on corporate tax revenues and domestic and foreign investment. It computes effective tax rates to take account of complicated special regimes, such as partial tax holidays, temporarily reduced rates and increased investment allowances. There is evidence of a partial race to the bottom: countries have been under pressure to lower tax rates in order to lure and boost investment. In the case of standard tax systems (i.e. tax rules applying under normal circumstances), the effective tax rate reductions have not been larger than those witnessed in advanced economies, and revenues have held up well over the sample period. However, a race to the bottom is evident among special regimes, most notably in the case of Africa, creating effectively a parallel tax system where rates have fallen to almost zero. Regression analysis reveals higher tax rates adversely affect domestic investment and FDI, but do raise revenues in the short-run.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/28.

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Length: 31
Date of creation: 01 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/28
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  1. Blundell, R. & Bond, S., 1995. "Initial Conditions and Moment Restrictions in Dynamic Panel Data Models," Economics Papers 104, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  2. Mintz, Jack M, 1990. "Corporate Tax Holidays and Investment," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 4(1), pages 81-102, January.
  3. 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.
  4. Janeba, Eckhard & Smart, Michael, 2003. "Is Targeted Tax Competition Less Harmful Than Its Remedies?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 259-80, May.
  5. Alexander Klemm & Stefan Parys, 2012. "Empirical evidence on the effects of tax incentives," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 393-423, June.
  6. Kimberly Clausing, 2007. "Corporate tax revenues in OECD countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 115-133, April.
  7. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  8. Alexander Klemm, 2010. "Causes, benefits, and risks of business tax incentives," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 315-336, June.
  9. Ruud A. de Mooij & Sjef Ederveen, 2008. "Corporate tax elasticities: a reader's guide to empirical findings," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 680-697, winter.
  10. Zee, Howell H. & Stotsky, Janet G. & Ley, Eduardo, 2002. "Tax Incentives for Business Investment: A Primer for Policy Makers in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1497-1516, September.
  11. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 2002. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3247, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Michael Keen & Mario Mansour, 2010. "Revenue Mobilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges from Globalisation II - Corporate Taxation," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 28(5), pages 573-596, 09.
  13. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
  14. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  15. Alexander Klemm, 2008. "Effective Average Tax Rates for Permanent Investment," IMF Working Papers 08/56, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
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