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Taxation, Corruption, and Growth

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  • Philippe Aghion
  • Ufuk Akcigit
  • Julia Cagé
  • William R. Kerr

Abstract

We build an endogenous growth model to analyze the relationships between taxation, corruption, and economic growth. Entrepreneurs lie at the center of the model and face disincentive effects from taxation but acquire positive benefits from public infrastructure. Political corruption governs the efficiency with which tax revenues are translated into infrastructure. The model predicts an inverted-U relationship between taxation and growth, with corruption reducing the optimal taxation level. We find evidence consistent with these predictions and the entrepreneurial channel using data from the Longitudinal Business Database of the US Census Bureau. The marginal effect of taxation for growth for a state at the 10th or 25th percentile of corruption is significantly positive; on the other hand, the marginal effects of taxation for growth for a state at the 90th percentile of corruption are much lower across the board. We make progress towards causality through Granger-style tests and by considering periphery counties where effective tax policy is largely driven by bordering states. Finally, we calibrate our model and find that the calibrated taxation rate of 37% is fairly close to the model's estimated welfare maximizing taxation rate of 42%. Reducing corruption provides the largest potential impact for welfare gain through its impact on the uses of tax revenues.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Ufuk Akcigit & Julia Cagé & William R. Kerr, 2016. "Taxation, Corruption, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 21928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21928
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    3. Lisa CHAUVET & Marin FERRY, 2016. "Taxation, infrastructure, and firm performance in developing countries," Working Papers 3510, FERDI.
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    5. Leonardo A. Rocha & Maria Ester S. Dal Poz & Patrícia V.P.S. Lima & Ahmad S. Khan & Napiê G. A. Silva, 2019. "Corruption, bureaucracy and other institutional failures: the “cancer†of innovation and development," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 39(3), pages 1740-1754.
    6. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "The Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization," PSE Working Papers halshs-00705354, HAL.
    7. Ejaz Ghani & William R. Kerr & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2013. "Local industrial structures and female entrepreneurship in India," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(6), pages 929-964, November.
    8. Shahriyar Mukhtarov & Mustafa Mohammad Alalawneh & Mayis Azizov & Farid Jabiyev, 2020. "The Impact of Monetary Policy and Tax Revenues on Foreign Direct Investment Inflows: An Empirical Study on Jordan," Acta Universitatis Agriculturae et Silviculturae Mendelianae Brunensis, Mendel University Press, vol. 68(6), pages 1011-1018.
    9. Jesús Peiró‐Palomino & Andrés J. Picazo‐Tadeo & Vicente Rios, 2020. "Well‐being in European regions: Does government quality matter?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(3), pages 555-582, June.
    10. Forson, Joseph Ato, 2014. "A “Recursive Framework” of Corruption and Development: Comparison between Economic and Sustainable outcomes," MPRA Paper 102211, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Nov 2016.
    11. Ghani, Ejaz & Kerr, William R. & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2012. "What explains big gender disparities in India ? local industrial structures and female entrepreneurship," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6228, The World Bank.
    12. Lisa CHAUVET & Marin FERRY, 2016. "Taxation, infrastructure, and firm performance in developing countries," Working Papers 3510, FERDI.
    13. Serhan Cevik & Fedor Miryugin, 2018. "Does Taxation Stifle Corporate Investment? Firm‐Level Evidence from ASEAN Countries," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 51(3), pages 351-367, September.
    14. Ghani, Ejaz & Kerr, William R. & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2012. "What makes cities more competitive ? spatial determinants of entrepreneurship in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6198, The World Bank.
    15. Takeo Hori & Noritaka Maebayashi & Keiichi Morimoto, 2018. "Tax Evasion and Optimal Corporate Income Tax Rates in a Growing Economy," Discussion Papers 41, Meisei University, School of Economics.
    16. Wei-Bin Zhang, 2017. "Corruption and Growth in a Dynamic General Equilibrium Model," European Journal of Economics and Business Studies Articles, European Center for Science Education and Research, vol. 3, EJES May-.
    17. Wei-bin ZHANG, 2020. "Corruption and Public Service in an Extended Solowian Growth Model with Endogenous Labor Supply," Journal of Economic Policy Researches, Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 1-20, July.
    18. Julia Cage & Lucie Gadenne, 2014. "The Fiscal Cost of Trade Liberalization," PSE Working Papers halshs-00705354, HAL.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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