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Promoting Investment under International Capital Mobility: An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Analysis

  • A. Lans Bovenberg
  • Lawrence H. Goulder

This paper uses a dynamic computable general equilibrium model to compare, in an economy open to international capital flows, the effects of two U.S. policies intended to promote domestic capital formation. The two policies -- the introduction of an investment tax credit (ITC) and a reduction in the statutory corporate income tax rate -- differ in their treatment of old (existing) and new capital. The model features adjustment dynamics, intertemporal optimization by U.S. and foreign households and firms endowed with model-consistent expectations, imperfect substitution between domestic and foreign assets in portfolios, an integrated treatment of the current and capital accounts of the balance of payments, and industry disaggregation in the United States. We find that the two policies (scaled to imply the same revenue cost) differ in their consequences for foreign and domestic welfare, the balance of payments accounts, international competitiveness, and U.S. industrial structure. The ITC produces larger domestic welfare gains because it is more effective in reducing intertemporal distortions, while the two policies have similar implications for intersectoral efficiency. From the point of view of domestic welfare, the relative attractiveness of the ITC is enhanced when international capital mobility is taken into account, a reflection of international transfers of wealth associated with foreign ownership of part of the U.S. capital stock. Whereas reducing the corporate tax rate improves the trade balance initially, introducing the ITC causes a deterioration of the trade balance in the short run. Reflecting a lower real exchange rate, export-oriented sectors perform better relative to non-tradable industries under a lower corporate tax rate than in the presence of the lTC, especially in the short run.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3139.

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Date of creation: Oct 1989
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1993. " Promoting Investment under International Capital Mobility: An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Analysis," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 95(2), pages 133-56.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3139
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  1. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," Working papers 343, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Fair, Ray C & Taylor, John B, 1983. "Solution and Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Dynamic Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(4), pages 1169-85, July.
  3. Bovenberg, A Lans, 1989. "The Effects of Capital Income Taxation on International Competitiveness and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1045-64, December.
  4. Mussa, Michael, 1978. "Dynamic Adjustment in the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 775-91, October.
  5. James M. Poterba & Julio J. Rotemberg, 1986. "Money in the Utility Function: An Empirical Implementation," NBER Working Papers 1796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Adler, Michael & Dumas, Bernard, 1983. " International Portfolio Choice and Corporation Finance: A Synthesis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 925-84, June.
  7. Jorgenson, Dale W & Yun, Kun-Young, 1986. " The Efficiency of Capital Allocation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 85-107.
  8. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
  9. Darrell Duffie & William Zame, 1988. "The Consumption-Based Capital Asset Pricing Model," Discussion Papers 88-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  10. Robert C. Feenstra, 1989. "Trade Policies for International Competitiveness," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen89-1, December.
  11. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines, Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Notes on the Tax Treatment of Structures," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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