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Why Europe Should Love Tax Competition - and the U.S. Even More So

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  • Eckhard Janeba
  • Guttorm Schjelderup

Abstract

Is global competition for mobile capital harmful (less public goods) or beneficial (less government waste)? This paper combines both aspects within a generalized version of the comparative public finance model (Persson, Roland and Tabellini, 2000) by introducing multiple countries and endogenous tax bases. We consider the role of political institutions and compare parliamentary democracies (Europe) and presidential-congressional systems (USA) to show that increasing tax competition is likely to improve voter welfare, even if public good supply decreases because rents to politicians also fall. The conditions for voter welfare to improve are less stringent under the presidential-congressional system than under parliamentary democracies. Increasing tax competition lowers voter welfare if the only benefit to politicians is to divert resources from the government budget and the future is valued highly.

Suggested Citation

  • Eckhard Janeba & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2002. "Why Europe Should Love Tax Competition - and the U.S. Even More So," NBER Working Papers 9334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9334
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
    2. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
    3. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
    4. John Douglas Wilson & Roger H. Gordon, 2003. "Expenditure Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 5(2), pages 399-417, April.
    5. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1992. "The Politics of 1992: Fiscal Policy and European Integration," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 689-701.
    9. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 269-304, June.
    10. Zodrow, George R. & Mieszkowski, Peter, 1986. "Pigou, Tiebout, property taxation, and the underprovision of local public goods," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 356-370, May.
    11. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
    12. Besley, Timothy J. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Does Tax Competition Raise Voter Welfare?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3131, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Lorz, Oliver, 1998. "Capital mobility, tax competition, and lobbying for redistributive capital taxation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 265-279, May.
    14. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckhard Janeba & Guttorm Schjelderup, 2009. "The Welfare Effects of Tax Competition Reconsidered: Politicians and Political Institutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(539), pages 1143-1161, July.
    2. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2010. "Beyond Gaps and Imbalances: Re-Structuring the Debate on Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations," MPRA Paper 32145, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Alexander Haupt & Eckhard Janeba, 2003. "Bildung im Zeitalter mobilen Humankapitals," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(2), pages 173-187.
    4. Mihir A. Desai & C. Fritz Foley & James R. Hines, 2004. "Economic Effects of Regional Tax Havens," NBER Working Papers 10806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David E. Wildasin, 2006. "Global Competition for Mobile Resources: Implications for Equity, Efficiency and Political Economy," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(1), pages 61-110, March.
    6. Martin Bodenstein & Heinrich Ursprung, 2005. "Political yardstick competition, economic integration, and constitutional choice in a federation:," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 329-352, September.
    7. Wolfgang Eggert & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2007. "The Effects of Tax Competition when Politicians Create Rents to Buy Political Support," EPRU Working Paper Series 07-04, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    8. Ronald MacDonald & Paul Hallwood, 2004. "The Economic Case for Fiscal Federalism in Scotland," Working papers 2004-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2007. "Rescuing the concept of vertical fiscal imbalance," MPRA Paper 39343, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
    10. Horacio L. P. Piffano, 2007. "Argentina and Brazil: Fiscal Harmonization and Subnational Sales Taxation – State / Provincial VAT versus State / Provincial Retail Sales Tax," Department of Economics, Working Papers 069, Departamento de Economía, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    11. Eggert, Wolfgang & Sørensen, Peter Birch, 2008. "The effects of tax competition when politicians create rents to buy political support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1142-1163, June.
    12. Desai, Mihir A. & Foley, C. Fritz & Hines, James Jr., 2006. "Do tax havens divert economic activity?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 219-224, February.
    13. Libman, Alexander, 2005. "Взаимодействие Государственных И Частных Структур В Интеграционных Группировах: Теоретические Подходы И Опыт Снг
      [Interaction of Public and Private Actors in Regional Integration Groups - Theoretic
      ," MPRA Paper 17044, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration

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