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Fiscal and Migration Competition

  • Assaf Razin
  • Efraim Sadka

It is often argued that tax competition may lead to a "race to the bottom". Such a race may hold indeed in the case of the pure case of factor mobility (such as capital mobility). However, in this paper we emphasize the unique feature of labor migration, that may nullify the "race to the bottom" hypothesis. Labor migration is governed by net-of-tax factor rewards and the benefits that the welfare state provides. Tax rates are determined in a political economy set up which takes into account the effect of taxes and migration on factor rewards and the fiscal burden imposed by migration on the decisive voter. The paper models the host country stylistically as a member of the core of an economic union (i.e., a core EU welfare state member state), with tax financed benefits which is able to control the volume and the skill-composition of migration. The source country is modeled as an accession country to an economic union (i.e., through the EU enlargement treaty), with its own welfare (tax-benefit) policy. We let these two countries engage in fiscal competition. Using numerical simulations we examine how the migration policies are affected by whether the skilled or the unskilled are in power. We also analyze differences for tax policies between free and controlled migration, and the role of productivity gap.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16224.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16224.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Publication status: published as Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka "Tax Competition and Migration: The Race ‐ to ‐ the ‐ Bottom Hypothesis Revisited" forthcoming in CESifo Economic Studies , Volume 58, Number 1, March 2012, Oxford University Press.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16224
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  1. Christian Dustmann & Tommaso Frattini & Caroline Halls, 2010. "Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 31(1), pages 1-41, 03.
  2. Razin, A. & Sadka, E. & Swagel, P., 2000. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," Papers 2000-23, Tel Aviv.
  3. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
  4. Gordon H. Hanson & Kenneth F. Scheve & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2005. "Public Finance and Individual Preferences Over Globalization Strategies," Working Papers 524, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  5. Gordon H. Hanson, 2009. "The Economic Consequences of the International Migration of Labor," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 179-208, 05.
  6. Anna Maria Mayda (Georgetown University), 2005. "Who Is Against Immigration? A Cross-Country Investigation of Individual Attitudes towards Immigrants," Working Papers gueconwpa~05-05-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Barbone, Luca & Bontch-Osmolovsky, Misha & Zaidi, Salman, 2009. "The foreign-born population in the European Union and its contribution to national tax and benefit systems : some insights from recent household survey data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4899, The World Bank.
  8. Alon Cohen & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2009. "The Skill Composition of Migration and the Generosity of the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 14738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jasso, Guillermina & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 2008. "Selection Criteria and the Skill Composition of Immigrants: A Comparative Analysis of Australian and U.S. Employment Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 3564, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "International Coordination of Fiscal Policy in Limiting Economies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 617-36, June.
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