IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/12802.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Which Countries Become Tax Havens?

Author

Listed:
  • Dhammika Dharmapala
  • James R. Hines Jr.

Abstract

This paper analyzes the factors influencing whether countries become tax havens. Roughly 15 percent of countries are tax havens; as has been widely observed, these countries tend to be small and affluent. This paper documents another robust empirical regularity: better-governed countries are much more likely than others to become tax havens. Using a variety of empirical approaches, and controlling for other relevant factors, governance quality has a statistically significant and quantitatively large impact on the probability of being a tax haven. For a typical country with a population under one million, the likelihood of a becoming a tax haven rises from 24 percent to 63 percent as governance quality improves from the level of Brazil to that of Portugal. The effect of governance on tax haven status persists when the origin of a country's legal system is used as an instrument for its quality of its governance. Low tax rates offer much more powerful inducements to foreign investment in well-governed countries than elsewhere, which may explain why poorly governed countries do not generally attempt to become tax havens -- and suggests that the range of sensible tax policy options is constrained by the quality of governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhammika Dharmapala & James R. Hines Jr., 2006. "Which Countries Become Tax Havens?," NBER Working Papers 12802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12802
    Note: IFM ITI PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12802.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Funke, 2002. "Determining Taxation and Investment Impacts of Estonia's 2000 Income Tax Reform," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 102-109, Autumn.
    2. 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.
    3. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Corruption, Norms, and Legal Enforcement: Evidence from Diplomatic Parking Tickets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1020-1048, December.
    4. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995, Elsevier.
    5. James R. Hines, Jr., 1996. "Tax Policy and the Activities of Multinational Corporations," NBER Working Papers 5589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    7. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1995. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 5398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Kind, Hans Jarle & Knarvik, Karen Helene Midelfart & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Competing for capital in a 'lumpy' world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 253-274, November.
    9. AndrewK. Rose & MarkM. Spiegel, 2007. "Offshore Financial Centres: Parasites or Symbionts?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1310-1335, October.
    10. Timothy J. Goodspeed & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Li Zhang, 2006. "Attracting FDI: Are Other Government Policies More Important than Taxation in Attracting FDI?," Economics Working Paper Archive at Hunter College 414, Hunter College Department of Economics.
    11. Altshuler, Rosanne & Grubert, Harry, 2003. "Repatriation taxes, repatriation strategies and multinational financial policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 73-107, January.
    12. Borck, Rainald & Pfluger, Michael, 2006. "Agglomeration and tax competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 647-668, April.
    13. Auerbach,Alan J. & Hines, Jr.,James R. & Slemrod,Joel (ed.), 2007. "Taxing Corporate Income in the 21st Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521870221, December.
    14. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons From Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(2), pages 305-322, June.
    15. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2004. "Taxpayer Responses to Competitive Tax Policies and Tax Policy Responses to Competitive Taxpayers: Recent Evidence," Departmental Working Papers 200406, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    16. Gordon, Roger H, 1992. "Can Capital Income Taxes Survive in Open Economies?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1159-1180, July.
    17. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    18. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert & T. Scott Newlon, 2000. "Has U.S. Investment Abroad Become More Sensitive to Tax Rates?," NBER Chapters, in: International Taxation and Multinational Activity, pages 9-38, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Patrick Honohan & Brendan Walsh, 2002. "Catching Up with the Leaders: The Irish Hare," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(1), pages 1-78.
    20. 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.
    21. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
    22. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    23. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    24. Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
    25. Nico A. Hansen & Anke S. Kessler, 2001. "The Political Geography of Tax H(e)avens and Tax Hells," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1103-1115, September.
    26. Gallup, John L. & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Mellinger, Andrew, "undated". "Geography and Economic Development," Instructional Stata datasets for econometrics geodata, Boston College Department of Economics.
    27. 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.
    28. James R. Hines, 2006. "Will Social Welfare Expenditures Survive Tax Competition?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 330-348, Autumn.
    29. 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.
    30. 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.
    31. Timothy Goodspeed & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & JLi Zhang, 2006. "Are Government Policies More Important Than Taxation in Attracting FDI," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0614, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    32. Hampton, Mark P. & Christensen, John, 2002. "Offshore Pariahs? Small Island Economies, Tax Havens, and the Re-configuration of Global Finance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1657-1673, September.
    33. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-892, September.
    34. Gallup, John & Sachs, Jeffrey, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) Papers 294434, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government.
    35. Nathan Nunn & Daniel Trefler, 2006. "Putting the Lid on Lobbying: Tariff Structure and Long-Term Growth when Protection is for Sale," NBER Working Papers 12164, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
    37. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    38. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    39. Michael P Devereux, 2007. "The Impact of Taxation on the Location of Capital, Firms and Profit: a Survey of Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 0702, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    40. Raymond Fisman & Edward Miguel, 2006. "Cultures of Corruption: Evidence From Diplomatic Parking Tickets," NBER Working Papers 12312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    41. 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.
    42. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-278, June.
    43. James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Do Tax Havens Flourish?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, pages 65-100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    44. Hines, James R. Jr., 1999. "Lessons from Behavioral Responses to International Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 305-22, June.
    45. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    46. Lawrence Kenny & Stanley Winer, 2006. "Tax Systems in the World: An Empirical Investigation into the Importance of Tax Bases, Administration Costs, Scale and Political Regime," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 13(2), pages 181-215, May.
    47. Michael Keen & David Wildasin, 2004. "Pareto-Efficient International Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 259-275, March.
    48. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. 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.
    2. Bouvatier, Vincent & Capelle-blancard, Gunther & Delatte, Anne-Laure, 2017. "Banks in Tax Havens: First Evidence based on Country-by-Country Reporting," CEPR Discussion Papers 12222, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Vincent Bouvatier & Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Anne-Laure Delatte, 2017. "Banks Defy Gravity in Tax Havens," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-03101505, HAL.
    4. James R. Hines Jr., 2005. "Do Tax Havens Flourish?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 19, pages 65-100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James R. Hines Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 2009. "How Globalization Affects Tax Design," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 23, pages 123-157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "Economic Effects of Regional Tax Havens," NBER Working Papers 10806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Schwarz, Peter, 2011. "Money launderers and tax havens: Two sides of the same coin?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 37-47, March.
    8. Luisa R. Blanco & Cynthia L. Rogers, 2012. "Do Tax Havens Really Flourish?," Global Economy Journal (GEJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 12(3), pages 1-23, August.
    9. Gordon, Roger H. & Hines, James Jr, 2002. "International taxation," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 28, pages 1935-1995, Elsevier.
    10. Krautheim, Sebastian & Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Tim, 2011. "Heterogeneous firms, 'profit shifting' FDI and international tax competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 122-133, February.
    11. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
    12. Desai, Mihir A. & Dharmapala, Dhammika, 2009. "Taxes, institutions and foreign diversification opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 703-714, June.
    13. Jones, Chris & Temouri, Yama, 2016. "The determinants of tax haven FDI," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 237-250.
    14. Hristu-Varsakelis, Dimitrios & Karagianni, Stella & Saraidaris, Anastasios, 2011. "Equilibrium conditions in corporate tax competition and Foreign Direct Investment flows," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 13-21.
    15. Hanlon, Michelle & Heitzman, Shane, 2010. "A review of tax research," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 127-178, December.
    16. Shafik Hebous, 2014. "Money at the Docks of Tax Havens: A Guide," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(3), pages 458-485, September.
    17. Hristu-Varsakelis, Dimitrios & Karagianni, Stella & Saraidaris, Anastasios, 2011. "Equilibrium conditions in corporate tax competition and Foreign Direct Investment flows," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 13-21, January.
    18. Haufler, Andreas, 2006. "Die Besteuerung multinationaler Unternehmen," Discussion Papers in Economics 1153, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    19. Mauricio Cárdenas, 2007. "Economic Growth in Colombia : a reversal of "fortune"?," Revista ESPE - Ensayos sobre Política Económica, Banco de la Republica de Colombia, vol. 25(53), pages 220-259, January.
    20. Amina Lahrèche-Révil, 2006. "Who’s Afraid of Tax Competition? Harmless Tax Competition from the New European Member States," Working Papers 2006-11, CEPII research center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H87 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - International Fiscal Issues; International Public Goods
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12802. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.