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The Taxation of Discrete Investment Choices

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  • Michael P. Devereux
  • Rachel Griffith

Abstract

Traditional analysis of the taxation of income from capital has focused on the impact of tax on marginal investment decisions; the principal impact of tax on investment is through the cost of capital, and is generally measured by an effective marginal tax rate. In this paper, we consider cases in which investors face a choice between two or more mutually exclusive projects, both of which are expected to earn at least the minimum required rate of return. Examples include the location decisions of multinationals, firms choice of technology, and the choice of investment projects in the presence of binding financial constraints. In these cases the choice depends on the effective average tax rate. We propose a measure of this rate and demonstrate its relationship to the conventional effective marginal tax rate. Estimates of both are presented and compared for domestic and international investment in Germany, Japan, the UK and USA between 1979 and 1997.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith, 1998. "The Taxation of Discrete Investment Choices," Keele Department of Economics Discussion Papers (1995-2001) 98/08, Department of Economics, Keele University.
  • Handle: RePEc:kee:keeldp:98/08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
    2. Julie Collins & Douglas Shackelford, 1995. "Corporate domicile and average effective tax rates: The cases of Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(1), pages 55-83, February.
    3. Swenson, Deborah L., 1994. "The impact of U.S. tax reform on foreign direct investment in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 243-266, June.
    4. Hartman, David G., 1985. "Tax policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-121, February.
    5. J. S. S. Edwards & M. J. Keen, 1984. "Wealth Maximization and the Cost of Capital: A Comment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(1), pages 211-214.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm

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