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The Seesaw Principle in International Tax Policy

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  • Joel Slemrod
  • Carl Hansen
  • Roger Procter

Abstract

The standard analysis of the optimal international tax policy of a small country typically assumes that the country either imports or exports capital, but does not do both. This paper considers the situation in which a small country both exports and imports capital and can alter its tax on one or the other, but not both. In each case, a 'seesaw' relationship is identified, in which the optimal tax on the income from capital exports (imports) is inversely related to the given tax rate on income from capital imports (exports). The standard results for optimal taxation of capital exports and imports are shown to be special cases of the more general seesaw principle.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Slemrod & Carl Hansen & Roger Procter, 1994. "The Seesaw Principle in International Tax Policy," NBER Working Papers 4867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4867
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    Cited by:

    1. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2011. "Dual Income Taxation: A Promising Path to Tax Reform for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1691-1703.
    2. Matt Benge & David Holland, 2010. "Company Tax in New Zealand," Chapters, in: Iris Claus & Norman Gemmell & Michelle Harding & David White (ed.), Tax Reform in Open Economies, chapter 13, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Andreas Haufler, 1996. "Optimal factor and commodity taxation in a small open economy," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(3), pages 425-442, July.
    4. Conconi, Paola & Perroni, Carlo & Riezman, Raymond, 2008. "Is partial tax harmonization desirable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 254-267, February.
    5. Devereux, Michael P. & Fuest, Clemens & Lockwood, Ben, 2015. "The taxation of foreign profits: A unified view," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 83-97.
    6. Slemrod, Joel & Hansen, Carl & Procter, Roger, 1997. "The seesaw principle in international tax policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 163-176, August.
    7. Desai, Mihir A. & Hines, James R. Jr., 2003. "Evaluating International Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(3), pages 487-502, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Mackie James & J. Rousslang Donald, 2000. "The Optimal Taxation of Income From International Investment: A Geometric Analysis," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(4), pages 77-86.
    10. Christian Keuschnigg & Martin Dietz, 2007. "A growth oriented dual income tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 191-221, April.
    11. Iris Claus & Norman Gemmell & Michelle Harding & David White (ed.), 2010. "Tax Reform in Open Economies," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13704, September.
    12. Rousslang, Donald J., 2000. "Deferral and the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(3), pages 589-600, September.
    13. Dickescheid, Thomas, 2002. "Steuerwettbewerb und Direktinvestitionen," Beiträge zur Finanzwissenschaft, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 1, volume 16, number urn:isbn:9783161477348, August.
    14. Auerbach, Alan J., 2006. "The U.S. Tax System in International Perspective: A Review of the 2006 Economic Report of the Presidentís Tax Chapter," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt23b9n6bp, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    15. Rousslang, Donald J., 2000. "Deferral and the Optimal Taxation of International Investment Income," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 589-600, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

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