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Tax Competition With Parasitic Tax Havens

  • Joel Slemrod
  • John D. Wilson

We develop a tax competition framework in which some jurisdictions, called tax havens, are parasitic on the revenues of other countries. The havens use real resources to help companies camouflage their home-country tax avoidance, and countries use resources in an attempt to limit the transfer of tax revenues to the havens. The equilibrium price for this service depends on the demand and supply for such protection. Recognizing that taxes on wage income are also evaded, we solve for the equilibrium tax rates on mobile capital and immobile labor, and we demonstrate that the full or partial elimination of tax havens would improve welfare in non-haven countries, in part because countries would be induced to increase their tax rates, which they have set at inefficiently low levels in an attempt to attract mobile capital. We also demonstrate that the smaller countries choose to become tax havens, and we show that the abolishment of a sufficiently small number of the relatively large havens leaves all countries better off, including the remaining havens.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12225.

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Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Slemrod, Joel & Wilson, John D., 2009. "Tax competition with parasitic tax havens," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1261-1270, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12225
Note: PE
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  1. Mayshar, Joram, 1991. " Taxation with Costly Administration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 75-88.
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  6. Qing Hong & Michael Smart, 2006. "In praise of tax havens: International tax planning and foreign direct investment," Working Papers tecipa-265, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  7. Bucovetsky, Sam & Haufler, Andreas, 2008. "Tax competition when firms choose their organizational form: Should tax loopholes for multinationals be closed," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 188-201, January.
  8. Dhammika Dharmapala & James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Which Countries Become Tax Havens?," NBER Working Papers 12802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Haufler, A. & Schjelderup, G., 1999. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Papers 1/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  10. Bucovetsky, Sam & Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with two tax instruments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 333-350, November.
  11. Helmuth Cremer & Firouz Gahvari, 1997. "Tax Competition and Tax Evasion," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 24, pages 89-104.
  12. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "The demand for tax haven operations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 513-531, February.
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  14. 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.
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  16. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2000. "Tax evasion, fiscal competition and economic integration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1633-1657, October.
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  20. Hines, James R, Jr & Rice, Eric M, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-82, February.
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  22. Janeba, Eckhard & Peters, Wolfgang, 1999. "Tax Evasion, Tax Competition and the Gains from Nondiscrimination: The Case of Interest Taxation in Europe," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 93-101, January.
  23. 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.
  24. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  25. Keen, Michael, 2001. "Preferential Regimes Can Make Tax Competition Less Harmful," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 4), pages 757-62, December.
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