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State Taxation and the Reallocation of Business Activity: Evidence from Establishment-Level Data

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  • Xavier Giroud
  • Joshua Rauh

Abstract

In a sample of over 27 million establishments of U.S. firms with activities in more than one state, we estimate the impact of state business taxation on business activity. Only firms organized as subchapter C corporations are subject to the corporate tax code, whereas the income of partnerships, sole-proprietorships, and S corporations is passed through annually to the firm's owners and taxed at individual rates. For C corporations, both employment at existing establishments (intensive margin) and the number of establishments in the state (extensive margin) have corporate tax elasticities of -0.4. Pass-through entities, which serve as a control group for the corporate tax reforms, respond only to the personal tax code, with tax elasticities of -0.2 to -0.3. Around half of the effects are driven by reallocation of productive resources to other states where the treated firms have establishments. Capital shows similar patterns but is 36% less elastic than labor. A narrative approach confirms that the results are robust and strongest in the sample of tax changes that were implemented due to inherited budget deficits, long-run goals, or cross-state variation caused by Federal tax reforms.

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  • Xavier Giroud & Joshua Rauh, 2015. "State Taxation and the Reallocation of Business Activity: Evidence from Establishment-Level Data," NBER Working Papers 21534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21534
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    Cited by:

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    2. Suárez Serrato, Juan Carlos & Zidar, Owen, 2018. "The structure of state corporate taxation and its impact on state tax revenues and economic activity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 158-176.
    3. Jordi Jofre-Monseny & Simon Loretz & Valeria Merlo & Daniel J. Wilson, 2016. "Taxation, multinationals and foreign direct investment / Tributación, multinacionales e inversión extranjera directa / Tributació, multinacionals i inversió estrangera directa," IEB Reports ieb_report_2_2016, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. Pezone, Vincenzo, 2017. "Unemployment Risk and Payout Policies," MPRA Paper 83918, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Mukherjee, Abhiroop & Singh, Manpreet & Žaldokas, Alminas, 2017. "Do corporate taxes hinder innovation?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(1), pages 195-221.
    6. Reingewertz, Yaniv, 2018. "Corporate taxes and vertical tax externalities: Evidence from narrative federal tax shocks," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 84-97.
    7. E. Mark Curtis & Ryan A. Decker, 2018. "Entrepreneurship and State Taxation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-003, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects

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