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Can Tax Competition Lead to a Race to the Bottom in Europe? A Skeptical View

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  • Thierry Warin

    ()

  • André Fourçans

Abstract

This paper addresses the question of the likelihood of a race to the bottom in a monetary union, like the Euro-zone, that could result from tax competition between countries. This fear of a race to the bottom is used both in the economic literature and the political arena to promote tax harmonization. Using a game theoretical approach with the costs of changing tax policies to analyze the conditions of a race to the bottom, this paper shows that countries may not choose such an extreme strategy. In other words, the extreme case scenario of a race to the bottom is unlikely, and proponents of tax harmonization should base their reasoning upon other assumptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Thierry Warin & André Fourçans, 2006. "Can Tax Competition Lead to a Race to the Bottom in Europe? A Skeptical View," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0604, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0604
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    File URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/services/econ/repec/mdl/ancoec/0604.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2008. "Do countries compete over corporate tax rates?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1210-1235, June.
    3. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Tesar, Linda L., 2005. "Why hasn't tax competition triggered a race to the bottom? Some quantitative lessons from the EU," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 163-204, January.
    4. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1995. "Double-edged incentives: Institutions and policy coordination," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 38, pages 1973-2030 Elsevier.
    5. Stephen J. Turnovsky, 1997. "International Macroeconomic Dynamics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262201119, January.
    6. Jacob Frenkel & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1991. "International Taxation in an Integrated World," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061430, January.
    7. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1991. "International tax competition and gains from tax harmonization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 69-76, September.
    8. LOPEZ, Salvador & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1996. "A Simple Two-Country Model of Redistributive Capital Income Taxation," CORE Discussion Papers 1996025, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    9. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné & Amina Lahrèche-Revil, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment and the Prospects for Tax Co-Ordination in Europe," Working Papers 2000-06, CEPII research center.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Monetary union; Economic integration; Tax competition; Tax harmonization; Fiscal competition;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods

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