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Coveting Thy Neighbor's Manuafacturing: The Dilemma of State Income Apportionment

  • Austan Goolsbee
  • Edward L Maydew

This paper investigates the economic impact of the apportionment formulae used to divide corporate income taxes among the states. Most apportionment formulae, by including payroll, turn the state corporate income tax at least partially into a payroll tax. Using panel data from 1978 - 1994, the results show that this distortion has an important effect on state-level employment. For the average state, reducing the payroll weight from one-third to one-quarter increases manufacturing employment around 3% and the result is highly robust. The results also indicate that apportionment changes have important negative externalities on other states in that the effects of the apportionment formula on aggregate employment is zero. Every job gained within a state from an apportionment change is taken from another state. This externality suggests that the U.S. would be better off if the apportionment formula were set at a federal level. The paper also shows that because the payroll component of the tax is administered on top of the existing payroll tax, the deadweight loss from this component of state corporate income taxation may be significant, despite the low tax rates.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6614.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 75, no. 1 (January 2000): 125-143.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6614
Note: PE
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  1. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1997. "The effects of firm specific taxes and government mandates with an application to the U.S. unemployment insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 119-145, August.
  2. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie--Mason, 1994. "Tax Distortions to the Choice of Organizational Form," Public Economics 9401004, EconWPA, revised 18 Jan 1994.
  3. Leslie E. Papke, 1989. "Interstate Business Tax Differentials and New Firm Location: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 3184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Douglas Shackelford & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "The Revenue Consequences of Using Formula Apportionment to Calculate U.S. and Foreign-Source Income: A Firm-Level Analysis," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 41-59, February.
  5. Leslie E. Papke, 1993. "What Do We Know about Enterprise Zones?," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 37-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Goolsbee, Austan, 1998. "Taxes, organizational form, and the deadweight loss of the corporate income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 143-152, July.
  7. Mackie-Mason, Jeffrey K & Gordon, Roger H, 1997. " How Much Do Taxes Discourage Incorporation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 477-505, June.
  8. Goolsbee, Austan & Maydew, Edward L., 2000. "Coveting thy neighbor's manufacturing: the dilemma of state income apportionment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 125-143, January.
  9. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
  10. Hines, James R, Jr, 1996. "Altered States: Taxes and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in America," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1076-94, December.
  11. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  12. Gordon, Roger H & Wilson, John Douglas, 1986. "An Examination of Multijurisdictional Corporate Income Taxation under Formula Apportionment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1357-73, November.
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