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Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment

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  • Erkki Koskela
  • Ronnie Schöb

Abstract

This paper shows that a small open economy should levy positive source-based taxes on capital income to fight involuntary unemployment and increase welfare. A revenue-neutral tax reform which increases the capital tax rate and reduces the labour tax rate will induce firms to substitute labour for capital. Even though trade unions might succeed in subsequently increasing the net-of-tax wage rate, such a tax reform will lower marginal cost of production, increase output, and reduce unemployment as long as the labour tax rate exceeds the capital tax rate if elasticity of substitution is above a critical value which is itself below one. Independent of the elasticity of substitution, the government can promote wage moderation by increasing the personal tax credit instead of reducing the labour tax rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, "undated". "Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment," EPRU Working Paper Series 98-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:98-08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gordon, Roger H & Bovenberg, A Lans, 1996. "Why Is Capital So Immobile Internationally? Possible Explanations and Implications for Capital Income Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1057-1075, December.
    2. Eaton, B Curtis & Lipsey, Richard G, 1978. "Freedom of Entry and the Existence of Pure Profit," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(351), pages 455-469, September.
    3. Bruce, Neil, 1992. "A Note on the Taxation of International Capital Income Flows," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 68(202), pages 217-221, September.
    4. Ben Lockwood & Alan Manning, 1993. "Wage Setting and the Tax System: theory and Evidence for the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp0115, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Huizinga, Harry & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 1997. "Capital income and profit taxation with foreign ownership of firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 149-165, February.
    6. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
    7. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    8. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    9. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1978. "Taxing price makers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 423-455, December.
    10. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2005. "Optimal capital taxation in economies with unionized and competitive labour markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 717-731, October.
    2. Wehke, Sven, 2009. "Union wages, hours of work and the effectiveness of partial coordination agreements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 89-96, January.
    3. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 2002. " Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 387-404.
    4. Friedrich Breyer & Andreas Haufler, 2000. "Health Care Reform: Separating Insurance from Income Redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(4), pages 445-461, August.
    5. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Martin Weiss, 2009. "Higher Tax Rates on Labor? Evidence from German Panel Data," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(1), pages 73-92, March.
    7. Riedl, Arno & van Winden, Frans, 2012. "Input versus output taxation in an experimental international economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 216-232.
    8. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie, 2007. "How Tax Progression Affects Effort and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2861, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Stefan Boeters, 2004. "Green Tax Reform and Employment: The Interaction of Profit and Factor Taxes," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(2), pages 222-222, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining

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