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Follow the Leader? Evidence on European and U.S. Tax Competition

  • Rosanne Altshuler

    ()

    (Rutgers University, Department of Economics)

  • Timothy J. Goodspeed

    ()

    (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center)

This paper contributes to the small empirical literature that attempts to estimate tax reaction functions of national governments competing with other national governments. Our focus is on European countries. After presenting a simple theoretical model, we estimate reaction functions both for a pure Nash model and for a model in which the U.S. can act as a Stackelberg leader while the European countries compete with each other in a Nash way. Our empirical tests provide evidence that European countries set tax rates strategically interacting with their neighbors and following the lead of the United States. In fact, our results suggest that the tax rates of non-tax haven European countries are more responsive to changes in U.S. rates than to their own neighbor’s rates. However, we find no evidence that either the haven or non-haven countries reacted to the tax changes of the United States before 1986, the year of a major U.S. tax reform. We also reject the hypothesis that the countries in our sample have become more competitive in recent years. This is interesting given that our data span the time period during which tax competition is alleged to have become more intense.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200226.

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Date of creation: 23 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200226
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  1. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1999. "Tax competition and tax structure in open federal economies: evidence from OECD countries with implications for the European Union," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-39, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Devereux, Michael P. & Lockwood, Ben & Redoano, Michela, 2002. "Do Countries Compete over Corporate Tax Rates?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3400, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1998. "Tax Competition, Benefit Taxes, and Fiscal Federalism," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 3), pages 579-86, September.
  4. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd & Mintz, Jack, 2005. "Capital Mobility and Tax Competition," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 1(1), pages 1-62, December.
  5. Bond, Eric W & Samuelson, Larry, 1989. "Strategic Behaviour and the Rules for International Taxation of Capital," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(398), pages 1099-1111, December.
  6. Wilson, John Douglas, 1991. "Tax competition with interregional differences in factor endowments," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 423-451, November.
  7. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel, 2002. "Evaluating Tax Policy for Location Decisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3247, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James R. Hines Jr., 1992. "Credit and Deferral as International Investment Incentives," NBER Working Papers 4191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wildasin, D.E., 1987. "Nash equilibria in models of fiscal competition," CORE Discussion Papers 1987020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2001. "Repatriation Taxes, Repatriation Strategies and Multinational Financial Policy," NBER Working Papers 8144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ravi Kanbur & Michael Keen, 1991. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination when Countries Differ in Size," Working Papers 819, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Wilson, John Douglas, 1999. "Theories of Tax Competition," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 269-304, June.
  13. James R. Hines, Jr. & Eric M. Rice, 1990. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," NBER Working Papers 3477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Masayoshi Hayashi & Robin Boadway, 2001. "An empirical analysis of intergovernmental tax interaction: the case of business income taxes in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(2), pages 481-503, May.
  15. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  16. Grubert, Harry & Randolph, William C. & Rousslang, Donald J., 1996. "Country and Multinational Company Responses to the Tax Reform Act of 1986," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(3), pages 341-58, September.
  17. Slemrod, Joel, 2004. "Are corporate tax rates, or countries, converging?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1169-1186, June.
  18. Rosanne Altshuler & Harry Grubert, 2005. "The Three Parties in the Race to the Bottom: Host Governments, Home Governments and Multinational Companies," CESifo Working Paper Series 1613, CESifo Group Munich.
  19. Alfons Weichenrieder, 1996. "Anti-tax-avoidance provisions and the size of foreign direct investment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 67-81, January.
  20. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
  21. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 2000. "Tax structure in a federation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 493-506, March.
  22. Sinn, H.W., 1990. "Taxation And The Birth Of Foreign Subsidiaries," Papers 66, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  23. 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.
  24. Hartman, David G., 1985. "Tax policy and foreign direct investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 107-121, February.
  25. Gordon, Roger H, 1986. "Taxation of Investment and Savings in a World Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1086-1102, December.
  26. Fredriksson, Per G. & Millimet, Daniel L., 2002. "Is there a 'California effect' in US environmental policymaking?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 737-764, November.
  27. Hines, James R. (ed.), 2001. "International Taxation and Multinational Activity," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226341736, May.
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