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Tax Incentives and Business Investment: New Evidence from Mexico

  • Ramirez Verdugo, Arturo

This paper provides new evidence on the response of business investment to tax incentives. I use the variation provided by recent reforms to the Mexican corporate tax system, including the elimination and reintroduction of accelerated depreciation allowances applicable to investment undertaken outside the three main Mexican metropolitan areas. I show that investment is very sensitive to changes in tax variables and interest rates, with an estimated elasticity of investment with respect to the user cost around -2.0. The results are robust to different specifications and instrumental variables approaches. The large elasticity is shown to be the result of the large cross sectional variation in the user cost of capital and also a product of the small open economy nature of the Mexican economy. In particular, large investment responses of plants owned by multinational firms and a elasticity of imported assets considerably larger than that of domestically purchased goods. Furthermore, the use of panel data at the establishment level allows me to identify the discrete nature of investment decisions and to show that the capital accumulation pattern is consistent with nonconvex adjustment costs and irreversibilities, similar to those found for the US. Thus, the large elasticity compared to US estimates cannot be attributed to differences in adjustment costs. Finally, I provide evidence that the large investment response is not an artifact of misreporting or tax evasion since the elasticity of investment in other assets such as transportation equipment and land, which is harder to misreport, is also high.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2272/1/MPRA_paper_2272.pdf
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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/2291/1/MPRA_paper_2291.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 2272.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2005
Date of revision: 04 Oct 2006
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:2272
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  1. Cummins, Jason G. & Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 1996. "Tax reforms and investment: A cross-country comparison," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 237-273, October.
  2. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  3. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530, 05.
  4. Gordon, Roger H. & Ley, Eduardo, 1994. "Implications of Existing Tax Policy for Cross-Border Activity Between the United States and Mexico after NAFTA," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 435-46, June.
  5. Mark Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1994. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 94-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, And The Supply Of Capital Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 121-148, February.
  7. James M. Poterba & Lawrence H. Summers, 1984. "The Economic Effects of Dividend Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Hausman, Jerry, 2015. "Specification tests in econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 38(2), pages 112-134.
  10. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474.
  11. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  12. R. Gaston Gelos & Alberto Isgut, 2001. "Fixed Capital Adjustment: Is Latin America Different?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 717-726, November.
  13. Christopher House & Matthew D. Shapiro, 2006. "Temporary Investment Tax Incentives: Theory with Evidence from Bonus Depreciation," NBER Working Papers 12514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
  15. 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.
  16. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "The Importance of Measurement Error in the Cost of Capital," NBER Working Papers 7558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Hassett, Kevin A. & Hubbard, R. Glenn, 2002. "Tax policy and business investment," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 20, pages 1293-1343 Elsevier.
  19. repec:idb:brikps:22958 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Feltenstein, Andrew & Shah, Anwar, 1992. "General equilibrium effects of investment incentives in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 927, The World Bank.
  21. Gelos, R. Gaston & Werner, Alejandro M., 2002. "Financial liberalization, credit constraints, and collateral: investment in the Mexican manufacturing sector," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-27, February.
  22. José Ernesto López Córdova & Mauricio Mesquita Moreira, 2003. "Regional Integration and Productivity: The Experiences of Brazil and Mexico," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 23438, Inter-American Development Bank.
  23. Chirinko, Robert S. & Fazzari, Steven M. & Meyer, Andrew P., 1999. "How responsive is business capital formation to its user cost?: An exploration with micro data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-80, October.
  24. Gaston Gelos, R. & Isgut, Alberto, 2001. "Irreversibilities in fixed capital adjustment: Evidence from Mexican and Colombian plants," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 85-89, December.
  25. Shah, Anwar & Slemrod, Joel, 1991. "Do Taxes Matter for Foreign Direct Investment?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(3), pages 473-91, September.
  26. Goolsbee, Austan, 2000. "The Importance of Measurement Error in the Cost of Capital," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 215-28, June.
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