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Do Corporate Taxes Reduce Productivity and Investment at the Firm Level?: Cross-Country Evidence from the Amadeus Dataset

  • Cyrille Schwellnus
  • Jens Arnold

This paper uses a stratified sample of firms across OECD economies over the period 1996-2004 to analyse the effects of corporate taxes on productivity and investment. Applying a differences-in-differences estimation strategy which exploits differential effects of corporate taxes on firms with different profitability, it is found that corporate taxes have a negative effect on productivity at the firm level. The effect is negative across firms of different size and age classes except for the small and young, which may be attributable to the relatively low profitability of small and young firms. The negative effect of corporate taxes is particularly pronounced for firms that are catching up with the technological frontier. In the investment analysis, the results suggest that corporate taxes reduce investment through an increase in the user cost of capital. This may partly explain the negative productivity effects of corporate taxes if new capital goods embody technological change. Les impôts sur le revenu des sociétés réduisent-ils la productivité et l'investissement des firmes? Ce papier utilise un échantillon stratifié de firmes issues des pays de l’OCDE sur la période 1996-2004 pour analyser les effets de l’imposition des sociétés sur la productivité et l’investissement. En appliquant une stratégie d’estimation par différences-en-différences qui exploite des effets différentiels de l’imposition sur des firmes avec de différents niveaux de profitabilité, il s’avère que les impôts sur le revenu des sociétés ont un effet négatif sur la productivité des firmes. L’effet est négatif pour les firmes de toutes classes d’emploi et d’âge excepte pour les firmes à la fois petites et jeunes, ce qui peut être attribuable à la profitabilité relativement faible des firmes à la fois petites et jeunes. L’effet négatif de l’imposition est particulièrement fort pour les firmes qui sont en train de s’approcher à la frontière technologique. L’analyse de l’investissement indique que l’imposition des sociétés réduit l’investissement par une augmentation du coût du capital. Ceci expliquerait une partie des effets négatifs sur la productivité si les nouveaux biens de capital incorporent le progrès technologique.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/236246774048
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 641.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:641-en
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