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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
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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
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  1. Hong, Qing & Smart, Michael, 2010. "In praise of tax havens: International tax planning and foreign direct investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 82-95, January.
  2. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "Do tax havens divert economic activity?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 219-224, February.
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  5. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 2002. "Tax avoidance, evasion, and administration," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 22, pages 1423-1470 Elsevier.
  6. Philippe Bacchetta & Maria Paz Espinosa, 1993. "Information Sharing and Tax Competition Among Governments," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0028, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ..
  7. Dhammika Dharmapala, 2008. "What problems and opportunities are created by tax havens?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 661-679, winter.
  8. 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.
  9. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate tax systems and cross country profit shifting," Munich Reprints in Economics 20419, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. James R. Hines, Jr. & Eric M. Rice, 1990. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," NBER Working Papers 3477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Mayshar, Joram, 1991. " Taxation with Costly Administration," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(1), pages 75-88.
  13. Palan, Ronen, 2002. "Tax Havens and the Commercialization of State Sovereignty," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(01), pages 151-176, December.
  14. PERALTA, Susana & WAUTHY , Xavier & van YPERSELE, Tanguy, 2003. "Should countries control international profit shifting ?," CORE Discussion Papers 2003072, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 2000. "Tax evasion, fiscal competition and economic integration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1633-1657, October.
  16. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  17. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Hines Jr., James R., 2009. "Which countries become tax havens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1058-1068, October.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2009. "Optimal tax policy when firms are internationallly mobile," Working Papers 0907, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  22. Elitzur, Ramy & Mintz, Jack, 1996. "Transfer pricing rules and corporate tax competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 401-422, June.
  23. Eckhard Janeba & Michael Smart, 2001. "Is Targeted Tax Competition Less Harmful than its Remedies?," CESifo Working Paper Series 590, CESifo Group Munich.
  24. 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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